Harris Wofford was a major force in the shaping of the American community. He began the journey as a teenage in Scarsdale, New York, during World War II, when he formed the Student Federalists, a national organization preparing for the anticipated world government. While a private in the U.S. Army Air Force early in 1945 he even managed to secure and invitation to the White House with the organization’s national secretary, Emmy Lou (Clare) Lindgren, and spent an hour at tea with a very enthusiastic Eleanor Roosevelt. Harris and Clare would marry in 1948, a union that produced three children and continued until her death in January 1996. The Woffords became involved in the Civil Rights movement in the late 1950’s and he ultimately served in the U.S. Senate, representing the state of Pennsylvania. His résumé lit may significant achievements including helping to launch the Peace Corps in 1961, then serving as its Special Representative to Africa in 1963-64 and as its Director from 1964 to 1966. He held the post of Special Assistant to President John F. Kennedy, as well as Chairman of the White House Sub-Cabinet group on Civil Rights from 1961 to 1962.
He also served as counsel for the U.S. Committee on Civil Rights, Trustee to the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Non-Violent Social Change and many other challenging and important jobs. Harris Wofford has dedicated his career to citizen service, and believes that service should be expected and experienced by all Americans. He has built a legacy and a model for every American to live by. Today he heads the Corporation for National Service, an organization created by the National and Community Service Trust Act of 1993, landmark legislation Wofford helped launch. As CEO of the Corporation, he helped develop and organize the President¹s Summit for America¹s Future, held in Philadelphia in the spring of 1997. He has also pledged the support and participation of the Corporation for National Service in the post-Summit campaign–America¹s Promise: The Alliance for Youth, led by General Colin Powell.
These achievements alone make Harris Wofford one of America’s greatest community leaders, but there is so much more, which he shared in our interview due to publish in the next issue of ABILITY Magazine — including his efforts to support ABILITY Corps and civil rights for people with disabilities.
Harris will be missed.