On the passing of Sargent Shriver

A statement by John G. Levi, Chairman, Legal Services Corp. Board of Directors:

Sargent Shriver will be remembered as an extraordinary American, a giant who led the “war on poverty” and fought for equal justice for all Americans. His passion for equal justice and opportunity helped define our nation and shaped the lives of generations of Americans.

Sargent Shriver was the first Director of the Office of Economic Opportunity and instrumental in the founding of the federal Legal Services Program—the forerunner of today’s Legal Services Corporation. Mr. Shriver was the first Director of the Peace Corps, helped create Head Start, Volunteers in Service to America, the Job Corps, the Community Action Program, and served as president and chairman of the Special Olympics. He also founded the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law in Chicago.

Speaking at the American Bar Association’s annual meeting in 1965, Sargent Shriver said, “The extension of legal services to the poor is only a means of a more universal end—one we both share—the establishment of the rule of law.” He added, “It is that ordered quest for dignity, for justice, and for opportunity which is the central concern of society today.”

That “ordered quest” remains alive today. Sargent Shriver’s legacy also lives on at the Legal Services Corporation. We join all Americans in mourning his death and celebrating his remarkable life.


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