“In August, 1968, the country was still reeling from the assassination of Martin Luther King four months earlier, and the race riots that followed on its heels. Nightly news showed burning cities, white flight, radicals and reactionaries snarling at each other across the cultural divide.

“A brand new children’s show out of Pittsburgh, which had gone national the previous year, took a different approach. Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood introduced Officer Clemmons, a black police officer who was a kindly, responsible authority figure, kept his neighborhood safe, and was Mr. Roger’s equal, colleague and neighbor.

“Around the first anniversary of Martin Luther King’s death, Mr. Rogers invited Officer Clemmons to join him in soaking their tired feet in a plastic wading pool. And there they were, brown feet and pasty white feet, side by side in the water. Silently, contemplatively, without comment.

“25 years later, when the actor playing Officer Clemmons retired, his last scene on the show revisited that same wading pool, this time reminiscing. Officer Clemmons asked Mr. Rogers what he’d been thinking during their silent interlude a quarter century before. Fred Rogers’ answer was that he’d been thinking of the many ways people say “I love you.”

- Carl Aveni

WHO: Katiti Kironde

THE MAJOR MOMENT: In August 1968, Kironde became the first woman of color to ever grace the cover of Glamour magazine. Kironde, who was 18-years-old at the time and an undergraduate at Harvard University, applied for Glamour’s “Top 10 Best Dressed College Girls” competition and won the highest honor. The issue was not only a milestone for the then 30-year-old publication, but it was also the first time that any black women had been featured on the cover of a mainstream women’s fashion magazine in the United States.


The Birth of the peacecorps

On this day in 1961, President John F. Kennedy signed Executive Order 10924 to establish the Peace Corps. In 1966 Lillian Carter, the mother of future President Jimmy Carter, was drawn to volunteer. At age 68 she completed her training and spent 21 months in India. This is a letter Mrs. Carter sent describing her experience in India.

Lillian Carter Peace Corps Letter, 08/15/1968