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Updated 5:30 PM February 1, 2008




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Birth of the Peace Corps

Legend has it that John F. Kennedy first proposed the Peace Corps at U-M.

The truth is more complex, and a lot more interesting.

Ann Arbor author and historian James Tobin relives Oct. 14, 1960, and the days that followed, in an essay about U-M's role in the birth of the service organization.

Of the 2 a.m. presidential speech on the steps of the Michigan Union, Tobin writes: "He might have given the students a quick greeting and a standard pitch for votes. No one knows why he chose, instead, to ask them a question that would launch the signature program of his administration and ignite the idealism of a generation."

To read the entire essay go to

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