Barbara Graves Memorial - February 24, 2018

Freedom Voices

Barbara Graves, activist, former AFSC staff and committee member, and a founder of Strawberry Creek Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), died at her home at the Redwoods, Mill Valley, CA on December 22,  2017.  She was 104.

A memorial service will be held at Berkeley Friends Church, 1600 Sacramento Street, Berkeley, CA on February 24th.  2:00 p.m. 

She volunteered in San Francisco's Tenderloin with residents on the margins of society facilitating a weekly Bible discussion group for decades and serving on the board of the Tenderloin Reflection and Education Center.

Born in Geneva, NY, in 1913, Barbara worked for the American Red Cross from 1942 to 1945 directing nursing homes for battle-fatigued Allied airmen in Britain in World War II.  She received a bronze star for her service, unusual for a civilian.  She was hired by the American Friends Service Committee in 1948 to administer AFSC work in Germany, working and living with local Germans in establishing neighborhood centers for five years.  She then worked at the Eastern Pennsylvania Psychiatric Hospital from 1953 to 1962 as a psychiatric social worker, serving on and off AFSC committees.  In 1962 she was recruited by AFSC as director of the VISA (Voluntary International Service Assignment) program in Tanzania, Haiti, Guatemala and India.  She then went to UC-Berkeley for research based on her VISA experience and then to Emory University in Atlanta for study within a black social work environment.  Back to California where she remained until her death, Barbara served as a leader in the Northern California AFSC, often as a consultant to solve organizational problems.

She risked arrest many times in opposition to U.S. wars in Central America and the Middle East.  In 1986 she returned her Bronze Star in a ceremony at the Lincoln Memorial to protest the U.S. role in the conflict in Nicaragua.  
She is survived by her adopted daughter Nia Marie Graves Patterson and co-parent Glendora Patterson. 

About Freedom Voices

Some Information

Freedom Voices publishes works that speak to or from communities on the margins. Founded in 1989 in San Francisco’s Tenderloin District the press has grown from its origins as a community publisher to include works from around the globe.

FV works closely with the TallMountain Circle which produces, promotes and distributes Mary TallMountain’s literary works and chooses the winners of the TallMountain Award for Creative Writing and Community Service.

FV also distibutes New Earth Publications imprint such as translations of Nicaraguan Ernesto Cardenal’s Quetalcoatl , Costa Rican activist Luisa Gonzalez’s autobiography and Voice of Fire, Communiques and interviews from the Zapatista National Liberation Army.

Freedom Voices is a project of the non-profit Tenderloin Reflection and Education Center and organizes public readings and writing workshops in conjunction with the Center. Freedom Voices is also a partner in the Encounters in the Americas/Encuentros de los Americas project for popular literacy. The founding editor of Freedom Voices is B. Jesse Clarke. Editorial decisions are made by a collective of writers, activists, and street scholars.