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Wednesday, September 2nd, 2009 by

As America honors Senator Ted Kennedy, two NewSouth authors remember fondly their time spent with the late senator. Politics of Presidential Appointment author Sheldon Hackney, and Leslie Dunbar, contributor to American Crisis, Southern Solutions (with Hackney) and Where We Stand: Voices of Southern Dissent, recall their affectionate memories of the “Lion of the Senate.”

“He was my champion when I was going through a difficult confirmation process in 1993 to become the chair of the National Endowment for the Humanities,” Hackney said. “I’m reminded of how energetic and wise he was, and how much I owed him for leading me through the process. I must that say that I admire him even more for the way he has conducted himself during his final year on earth. He has been a model for us all.”

Dunbar recalled, “One day in 1970–or possibly early 1971–I had a phone call from his office: the senator would be in New York on an imminent day and would like to talk about a report soon to be issued on Indian education. On the appointed day and hour he arrived, walking alone down Park Avenue–I would not have at all been surprised had he sent a staffer instead. He had taken over from his brother Robert a special committee or task force on the topic of Indian education. Its report was now done, and he wanted to send it on its public way. For over an hour we discussed how best to do that–the sort of questions that staff persons always deal with. The difference being he was not a staffer, but a United States Senator. I was strongly impressed by his attention to and grasp of rudimentary details and his immersion in them. We have lost another good one.”

Sheldon Hackey is the former president of the University of Pennsylvania and is currently the Boies Professor of U.S. History at the University of Pennsylvania. Leslie Dunbar is the former director of the Southern Regional Foundation and the Field Council.

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