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PREACHING THE WORD: COFFIN IN DEMAND

by Warren Goldstein
An important new figure on the educational and religious scenes of the early 1960s, William Sloane Coffin Jr. appeared to be everywhere. Life magazine designated him one of the "Red Hot Hundred" in a special issue in 1962 devoted to "The Take-Over Generation." From television appearances and radio programs, from prep school lecterns and college pulpits, from national magazines, local newsletters, and newspaper headlines, Coffin preached a witty, quotable, provocative, prophetic Christianity. His photogenic and, more importantly, telegenic good looks -his handsome, square-jawed face, horn-rimmed glasses, slightly receding hair line, and athletic build- were about to become fixtures in American media for the rest of the decade. With a knack for stirring up controversy, Coffin created news. By 1963, he had become nothing less than a phenomenon.

     Coffin’s first move after the Freedom Ride took him in an entirely different direction. Back in March of 1961 Sargent Shriver had tried to recruit Coffin to organize and head a new training school for the Peace Corps
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