Edgar S. Cahn, Legal Reformer in Defense of the Poor, Dies at 86

“I don’t think we would have had such a role for attorneys in the Fight Against Poverty without him,” said Peter Edelman, a professor at Georgetown University Law Center who works on Great Law Society for Senator Robert. F. Kennedy, said in an interview.

It was just the first chapter in the legitimate entrepreneur’s life. Mr. Cahn left government in 1968 to found the Center for Citizen Advocacy, a research group dedicated to examining social inequality. He was one of the first in Washington to shed light on the famine raging in America, and to draw attention to the unfolding plight of Native Americans.

Later, he and Cahn founded Antioch Law School, a branch of Antioch University, the first legal education program to emphasize clinical training: Students learn by doing, sometimes performing cases work during the first few weeks of school.

Later, in the 1980s, Mr. Cahn developed the concept of time dollars, a system in which people could earn credits through hours of volunteer work, then using that credit to receive services from other volunteers – an especially useful solution in economically deprived areas. Today, communities across the United States and in 40 countries around the world, use some form of time banking.

“Whenever you have a question about how to reach the poor, how to help the poor, how to empower the poor, how to organize the poor, he is the one to turn to,” said campaigner Ralph Nader for consumers, said in an interview. “There is no one in the country with a more transcendent strategic and tactical approach than him.”

Edgar Stuart Cahn was born on March 23, 1935 in Manhattan and raised in Jackson Heights, Queens. He inherited a taste for social activism from his parents: His father, Edmond Cahn, taught law at New York University and is considered one of the leading moral philosophers of his generation; His mother, Lenore (Lebach) Cahn, is an activist serving the elderly residents of Greenwich Village.

He met Jean Camper while still an undergraduate student at Swarthmore College. She came from a prominent family of black civil rights leaders in Baltimore, and the two of them became famous on campus for their activism – as well as for their status as a couple. twins at a school who, despite their famous liberalism, are still confused about interracial dating. Edgar S. Cahn, Legal Reformer in Defense of the Poor, Dies at 86

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