Back in the late1990's, Brynda & I attended a weekend retreat at Kirkwood in N.E. PA. Pete Seeger & Dorothy Cotton (who led Freedom Songs with Martin Luther King, jr.) were the featured performers. At the end of the weekend, I joined Pete in leading the song, "A Weh, Suma Gwaza", which I had learned from fellow Wolf Trap Artists, Greg Artner & Terry Leonino (known as the duo: Magpie). After the program, Brynda & I were talking with Pete about our new "Peaceweavers" program and he told me of a paper dove that he & Sam Kennedy had created back in the 50's. He told me it had been sitting on his desk for 50 years because it was too hard for people to figure out and would we like to try and simplify the directions so it could be used again?!?
A few weeks later, the template for a die cut arrived by UPS. (See photo section) It was rusty but with some work at a local tool & die company, we were able to cut out 10,000 copies. We them proceded to simplify the directions with photos and clearer instructions. We took the revisions to Pete at his home for review, then took them to a printer and made 1,000 copies. We sent some to Pete for his Christmas Card list and later hand delivered a stack of doves & directions when he performed at Common Ground on the Hill in MD.
Pete invited me to a "Close the School of the Americas" Peace Rally in front of the White House and I brought the Peace Doves and passed them out. We were later asked by Pete's Grandson, Tao Rodriegez, to surprise Pete with 2 Peace Dove Mobiles at a Kennedy Center "Tribute to Pete Seeger" concert. We were also invited to join Pete & Tao, Tom Paxton, Magpie, and other performers on stage at the Kennedy Center to sing "If I Had a Hammer", "My Rainbow Race", "Where Have All the Flowers Gone", & several other songs.
In early 2001, Pete asked about putting the Peace Dove & directions together as a fundraiser for the Fellowship of Reconciliation. He asked me to have the Dove copyrighted before we sent it out, so that some greedy company could not sell the idea! I made many calls & several trips to Washington D.C. to try to get a copyright, only to find that Pete had copyrighted it back in 1957! I was able to renew the copyright but by the time I got it all set, it was after September 11th and there was little interest in Peace Doves and the Peaceweavers program here in the U.S..
Since that time, we have sent over 9,000 Peace Doves to friends in many countries and distributed them at Festivals in the U.S. and overseas. We still have some left but may need to make some more if we can find a die cut company (the old one went out of business). If anyone has a place to use them effectively, please let us know! We would love to make more and spread them around the world! Peace is now making a comeback after many years of war!
Slim & Brynda Harrison, "The Peaceweavers"