We shall overcome. SJ Dodgson MJoTA 2014 v8n1 p0128
I learned today that Pete Seeger has died. This winter has been a season of celebrating the lives of men who have led good lives. Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King jr, and a fellow Quaker, Christopher Roberts (Aug 17, 1942 - Dec 10, 2013).
Chris' family celebrated Chris' life at Haddonfield Monthly Meeting of the Society of Friends on Jan 25.
Chris was always trying to push back against corruption and stupidity, always building bridges. Which is what he did professionally, after training in civil engineering at Battersea Institute of Technology, he moved to the US to work for a bridge firm and soon became part of the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting Quaker community. He met his wife Deedy, a direct descendent of the 18th century pharmacist after whom my street
was named, and together they moved to Greece where he was installing solar stills. In the 1960s. After Greece they moved to England, where Chris was helping design and construct bridges. In 1971 they moved to Zambia where he put up
infrastructure for a coal mine. Meanwhile the family added a son and a daughter. After he became a master in bridge
engineering from the University of Surrey, the family settled back in New Jersey, in a house that backed onto the woods, and Chris became a force in the activist community. He was the treasurer of a local Amnesty International Group 30
years ago, and in the past 15 years, was the Quaker Ambassador to the
United Nations. More recently, he volunteered with Engineers without Borders.
Chris was active on Twitter, so active I had not realized he was approaching his mortality. His last tweet came 2 days before he died "Women have to find a different path to peace. Men have been practicing for 6,000 years - insanity defined."
Chris did not write songs, but he did write letters and when Nelson Mandela was in prison, was writing letters through Amnesty International, protesting to get him released.
Nelson Mandela was released because of efforts all over the world and all over South Africa by good men and women you have never heard of as well as politicians, and activists such as Pete Seeger who always knew that apartheid in South Africa was just plain wrong. And that peace is what we want.
We must be kind to each other. Thank you for pushing back against stupidity and unkindness Madiba, Chris, Martin, Pete. And Sojourner Truth, Helen Suzman, Shirley Chisholm. All of us must never stop working for peace and kindness. We shall overcome.