Clarence E. Pickett

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Clarence E. Pickett (1884-1965)

"Educated at Penn College, Iowa, Hartford Theological Seminary, and Harvard, he served as a Quaker minister in Toronto and Oskaloosa, as national secretary of Young Friends' activities, and as professor of biblical literature at Earlham College. From 1929 until partial retirement in 1950, he was executive secretary of the American Friends Service Committee.

"This small, religiously motivated organization had an annual budget of $55,000 in 1929. Under his leadership and that of his successors, its budget has grown to more than $5,000,000. Despite his and their conscientious abhorrence of corporate bigness, its program is now worldwide. AFSC provided the principal channel-though by no means the only one-whereby Clarence Pickett sought to achieve the Kingdom of God on earth. His means were varied. Even when exceedingly practical, they were never mundane. Mediation of labor-management disputes, subsistence housing and cooperative farming for miners, economic assistance to Negro slum-dwellers and war-displaced Japanese-Americans, more humane police practices in Philadelphia, and relief for Jewish, Arab, and other refugees were just a few of his good works. But he also gave steadily increasing priority to removal of the causes of man's suffering. His only enemies were human hatred and misunderstanding, willingness to wage war, hesitancy to wage peace, inadequate structures for resolving differences among nations...

"His later years left him freer to pursue fundamental goals. Strengthening the United Nations was a cherished aspiration. To this end he developed the Quaker Program at the U.N. A prominent Moslem diplomat told the General Assembly of Clarence's major role in creating the first U.N. Meditation Room, and of its practical benefit to Moslem members who had previously resorted to telephone booths for repeating their prayers.

"Always alert to reducing East-West tensions, he and AFSC decided to create a special emergency fund for shipment of urgently needed streptomycin to the Soviet Union. He viewed disarmament as fundamental to reduction of tensions leading to war. He was co-chairman of the Committee for a Sane Nuclear Policy." [1]

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