Near the end of the year 1963, the renowned Dr. Earle Reynolds visited New England as part of a speaking tour. Dr. Reynolds had joined the antiwar movement in dramatic fashion and became something of an activist celebrity years earlier in 1958: by sailing with his family (and one Hiroshima citizen) into the US Pacific Proving Grounds in protest of the nuclear weapons his government had been testing there for years. From then on, Earle Reynolds committed himself completely to resisting war and especially nuclear weapons.
As a lead researcher for the US Atomic Energy Commission in Hiroshima from 1951 to 1954, Dr. Reynolds became one of the world’s foremost experts on the effects of radiation. Coming to understand the horrors of nuclear weapons better than almost anyone, Dr. Reynolds was so disturbed by what he had found in his research that he abandoned the rest of the study in 1954. Four years later, in the middle of a family sailing trip around the world, the Reynolds family met the crew of the CNVA’s Golden Rule ketch and together decided to carry out the Golden Rule’s mission in its stead: to disrupt the nuclear weapons testing in the Pacific by physically entering the restricted zone.
(Read our story on the Reynolds' forbidden voyage here)
For the next several years, Dr. Reynolds was prominently involved in a number of high-profile actions against nuclear weapons. He sailed to the Soviet Union twice to protest their participation in the nuclear arms race: the first time again with his family in 1961, the second time as the skipper of the CNVA ship Everyman III in 1962. Back to 1963, Dr. Reynolds would come to share his activist experiences and scientific expertise with some of his most ardent supporters — the premier antiwar group in the 1960s northeast, an organization that came out of the one that sent the Golden Rule to the Pacific in the first place, as well as VPT’s predecessor: the New England Committee for Nonviolent Action (CNVA).
Earle Reynolds, as well as his first wife Barbara, continued antiwar activism for the rest of their lives. Earle would go on to conduct more sail-based antiwar and humanitarian missions, including multiple trips to Vietnam during the American occupation. Barbara’s activist career was arguably even more impressive and deserves its own post at a later date. And while the Golden Rule was not able to complete its first mission, the ketch dutifully served in many more successive actions in the antiwar movement before eventually being scuttled. Years later, Veterans for Peace recovered and restored the ship in order to both preserve its history and continue its function as a protest ship. With a new crew from Veterans for Peace, the restored Golden Rule is currently sailing around the United States to spread its antiwar message. VPT is getting ready to welcome the historic ship when it visits New London in June 2023.
See below for the original announcement of Dr. Reynolds’ New England CNVA visit from 1963. And watch this page for updates on events leading up to the Golden Rule’s arrival in New London!
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“Earle Reynolds Coming.” Polaris Action Bulletin. 28 October 1963 (Bulletin #46), page 7.
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