IPCP 08 What They Wrote About Michelmore in America

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What They Wrote About Michelmore in America, Part 8

Segments of the U.S. Press were all over the postcard incident. The U.S. News and World Report wrote,"From the moment of its inception, despite laudable aims, the Peace Corps was bound to run into trouble." They condemned the naivete of the entire concept and claimed, "this is only the first big storm." Commonweal wrote in an editorial "The problem involved is really bigger than the Peace Corps for it reflects the gap that exists between the wealthy U.S. and most of the rest of the world. Given this fact, incidents like the postcard affair are bound to happen." Former President Eisenhower added his two cents, saying the "postcard" was evidence of the worthlessness of Kennedy's new idea However, columnist James Weschsler of the New York Post came to the aid of the Peace Corps and Marjorie. "Nothing in the card was sinister. It contained the instinctive expression of horror of an affluent American girl in her first direct encounter with the gruesome squalor of Nigeria. She was neither patronizing nor self-righteous in her comment; yet, whoever found the lost card managed to stage a big production." Michelmore, meanwhile, was getting support from Nigerian writing letters to Nigerian newspapers. Tai Solarin in the Lagos Daily Times wrote, "not a single Nigerian who knew this part of Nigeria would suggest that she was sending home a make-up story." While Murray Frank and the PCVs at University College of Ibadan might not have known it at first, the Volunteers were also getting help from Washington. Shriver met with the President as soon as the news broke, telegrams were going back and forth between the Peace Corps and Sam Proctor, the Peace Corps Director in Nigeria, on how to handle the situation. And Marjorie, too, was well aware of what was happening around her because of the postcard. She would later write Kennedy, "I regret very much my part in the unfortunate affair at Ibadan. I hope that the embarrassment is caused the country and the peace corps effort will be neither serious nor lasting. [ Marjorie was right. Five months after the postcard incident, a second group of Volunteers arrived in Nigeria and were met at the airport by Prime Minister Abubakar Belewwa.]


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