Stories of Hope-Barbara Reynolds
1978-1990: The Wonder Woman Never Quits
Barbara's retirement did not mean an end to her peace activities. In 1982, she organized the "Unforgettable Fire Tour," which consisted of an exhibit of fifty pieces of art created by hibakusha, reflecting their painful experiences. Barbara and Miyoko Matsubara traveled across the United States with the exhibit.
Miyoko Matsubara (far left) and Barbara Reynolds (far right) at the "Unforgettable Fire Tour"
Additionally, Barbara made speeches at events such as International Women's Day and the University of California's Hiroshima Week, both in 1985. The new wave of anti-nuclear activism coming to prominence with the Nuclear Freeze Movement created an environment receptive to Barbara's message of peace.
Another mission undertaken by Barbara was the aid of Cambodian and Vietnamese refugees. She and the First Friends Church of Long Beach helped many refugees find jobs, places to live, and basic necessities, as well as helping them adjust to everyday American life. These refugees greatly appreciated Barbara and her support; several of them spoke fondly at her memorial service years later. As though she were not busy enough already, Barbara also found the time to volunteer at the local nursing home.
Barbara Reynolds receiving the War Resisters League Peace Award in 1985.
This period saw Barbara presented with numerous awards in recognition of her work. In 1984, she won the Wonder Woman Award in the "Women for Equality and Peace" category. In 1985, she won the War Resisters League Peace Award. The Long Beach City College Senior Center awarded her with Senior of the Year for her peace activities in 1986. Also in 1986, the Biola University Writer's Institute presented her with the Sherwood E. Wirt Award.
In 1990, Barbara returned to Wilmington, Ohio, to perform research at the Peace Resource Center. However, before she could complete her project, she died suddenly of a heart attack on February 11, at the age of 74.
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