The first modern protest ship, the Golden Rule, is set to visit New London, Connecticut on June 9 and 10 of this year. The ship almost immediately inspired others to emulate the tactic when it first made waves in 1958 — the first of which was the Reynolds family aboard the yacht Phoenix of Hiroshima, who ended up completing the Golden Rule’s original mission to disrupt the US nuclear weapons testing operations in the Pacific. But after her adventures defying both the United States and Soviet nuclear weapons testing out on the high seas, Barbara Reynolds shifted her attention to the victims of the bomb. Back in Japan, she organized the 1962 Peace Pilgrimage of two hibakusha (“blast-affected people”) women, and then again the 1964 World Peace Study Mission which took 25 hibakusha to 150 cities around the world to share their stories. (Read about the 1962 Peace Pilgrimage in Barbara Reynolds’ own words here). Following these two world tours, Barbara returned to Hiroshima and continued her work promoting peace.
In 1965, she became the first director of the World Friendship Center (WFC) in Hiroshima, Japan, which was established as a hub for international exchange and dialogue on peace-related issues. The center invited visitors from around the world to come learn about the lingering effects of the atomic bombings and to hear firsthand the experiences of the hibakusha. The WFC quickly became a symbol of hope and reconciliation in the aftermath of the atomic bombing, and it still continues its mission to share the stories of the atomic bomb survivors and to foster peace between nations today.
Ten years later, in 1975, Barbara Reynolds also founded the Wilmington Peace Resource Center at Wilmington College in Ohio, including the Hiroshima/Nagasaki Memorial Collection, an archive of materials related to the atomic bombings and their aftermath. Most of the contents were donated by Barbara Reynolds herself — documents and other materials that she had collected over her decades working with hibakusha, doctors, and peace activists. The center provides educational resources to students and researchers as well as space for activists to gather and organize.
Throughout her life, Reynolds remained committed to the principles of nonviolence and peaceful conflict resolution, and she continued to work for social justice until her death in 1990. Her legacy serves as a reminder of the power of ordinary individuals to effect change and promote peace in the face of adversity. And it all started with a chance meeting with a few radical Quakers — it was the Golden Rule and the CNVA that put Barbara on the path to accomplish all that she did for the hibakusha and the cause of world peace.
The Golden Rule sails again to bring attention to the new arms race and the recent international ban on nuclear weapons. As they travel around the United States, the crew hopes to inspire more action with innovative strategies, much like the ship inspired Barbara and others decades ago. When the Golden Rule enters the Thames River in June, it will be a tribute not only to the ship's historic journey but also to the legacy of Barbara Reynolds and others like her.
See below the brief profile for Barbara Reynolds prepared for the 1964 World Peace Study Mission, one of the ambitious projects that the Golden Rule inspired. Then, follow the link to read the profiles of the other participants of the project, including the hibakusha who were the main subjects of the mission.
See more profiles here: https://digital.opal-libraries.org/digital/collection/p17342coll12/id/11/rec/1
We at VPT are planning for the arrival of the Golden Rule in New London, CT in June. As the world’s first modern protest ship and a vessel originally operated by the CNVA, the Golden Rule has strong historical ties to VPT. To stay in the loop about these events, sign up for our newsletter: http://eepurl.com/Oqf99
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“Barbara Reynolds and World Friendship Center – An American Woman who Conveyed Hibakusha Voices to the World-” Hiroshima for Global Peace. https://hiroshimaforpeace.com/en/world-friendship-center/
“Biographical Sketches of the Goodwill Ambassadors,” 1963, Wilmington - Barbara Reynolds Archives - The World Peace Study Mission 1964. The Barbara Reynolds Memorial Archives of the Peace Resource Center at Wilmington College, 1870 Quaker Way, Wilmington, OH. https://digital.opal-libraries.org/digital/collection/p17342coll12/id/0/rec/1
Wilmington Peace Resources Center. https://www.wilmington.edu/prc/
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