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Sargent Shriver Mocks Goldwater

June 24, 1964 - At this morning’s plenary session of the NAACP convention in Washington D.C., Sargent Shriver, director of the Peace Corps and also director of President Johnson’s antipoverty program, drew applause with a sarcastic attack on Senator Barry Goldwater of Arizona, the leading candidate for the Republican Presidential nomination.

“It has been a hot week in Washington,” Mr. Shriver said. “Yesterday it was 92 degrees. Most of you haven’t had time for swimming, but Senator Goldwater, they tell me, was swimming in the Potomac looking for the mainstream.

“If he really wants to find the mainstream, he should come to this convention and try to explain his position on race relations, try to explain why he thinks it is unconstitutional to pass a law guaranteeing equal opportunity to all Americans regardless of color and creed.”

Mr. Goldwater voted against the civil rights bill passed last week in the Senate.

Mr. Shriver said: “If Mississippi justice — Emmett Till, Medgar Evers, and now three more workers — is constitutional and the civil rights bill is unconstitutional, then my only question is: Did Goldwater ever go to law school?”

Of the Peace Corps and its 8,000 American volunteers, Mr. Shriver said: “We have not had one single incident of violence to a Peace Corps volunteer serving abroad. We have heard talk of backward peoples in other continents. But when we think of that burned car [of the three missing civil rights workers] and think back on Medgar Evers and Emmett Till and the other victims of American violence — we must ask ourselves, who is really backward?”

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