In a family that has included a president, three senators and untold numbers of political movers and shakers, Eunice Kennedy Shriver may well be remembered as the most consequential of Joseph P. Kennedy and Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy's nine children.
Shriver, who died Tuesday at age 88, was a lifelong champion for mentally disabled people, fighting not just for their civil rights under the law but also, as important, for their right to be treated with respect and dignity as human beings.
Inspired at least in part by the story of her sister Rosemary, Shriver, a graduate of Stanford University, hosted a summer camp for disabled children in Maryland in the early 1960s. There, she sometimes surprised her family and peers with her close and comfortable contact with the kids.
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