Berkeley’s Wall For Peace, Revisited 30 Years Later

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What did peace look like in Berkeley in the 1980s? The other day I got a close-up view. The city took down the fence around Civic Center Park after a renovation, so I was able to get some photographs of the newly cleaned-up “Wall for Peace” while the morning light was good and the area was free of drinkers.

The story of this Wall For Peace, dedicated in 1989, is told below in italics, transcribed from its plaque.

Click the photos below for higher-resolution versions.

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From the wall’s plaque: “Carolyn Marks was inspired to create this wall by a sign on a fence in North Berkeley which read: ‘Do something today for peace.'”

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“In 1984 she began collecting handpainted tiles for the Peace Wall.”

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“Construction began in 1988. That same year, 100 Soviets from Troitsk saw a television show about the wall and journeyed to Berkeley to paint the Soviet-American quilt.”

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“The Hiroshima quilt was painted on August 6, 1988, out of respect for the Hibacha, the survivors of Hiroshima, 1942. The Hiraga family painted the central panel in this quilt in memory of Sadako, the child who folded 1000 origami cranes and died of Leukemia, the ‘atomic bomb disease.'”

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“Other quilts in the wall address themes of spiritual peace, peace with nature and ecology, peace and social justice, peace in central America, peace through organizations and community, and peace through the family of nations.”

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“The Wall for Peace was dedicated on April 7, 1989 to The Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. by The Reverend Jesse Jackson. The Hiroshima quilt was dedicated on the last day of Berkeley Peace Week, September 23, 1989.”

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“This is the mother wall in a series of Walls For Peace around the world.”

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“It is meant to honor the ways in which every person struggles for peace, justice, and the health of the environment and its inhabitants.”

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“The people who have come together to create this monument see the Peace Wall as a prescription to heal the planet from war and strife.”

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“It is a petroglyph of our time, showing the progress of the human race on their earth journey.”

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“May it inspire in all who see it prayers of peace and visions of a better world.”

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