The Struggle for Peace in Turbulent Times

Broadcast on July 12, 2017
With Vivian Anderson Castleberry

95-year-old peacemaker and peacebuilder Vivian Anderson Castleberry has been on the forfront of peace and social change for decades. Join her as she shares heartfelt stories, insights and lessons learned from her life experiences. 

During this exciting session, you'll discover:

  • The importance of remaining focused on our eyes goal — that peace is possible.
  • Why, when there are inevitable setbacks, people are tempted to retire from the fray and return to comfort & saftey
  • When to rest... so we can renew our commitment to peace on earth & goodwill to all

Vivian Anderson Castleberry

Founder of Peacemakers, Inc.

Vivian Anderson Castleberry claims five careers in her lifetime.  Born in Lindale, east Texas, in the Bethesda community founded by her maternal ancestors on April 8, 1922, she attended grade school in LaRue, a town co-founded by her paternal grandfather.  She graduated as valedictorian of her class in 1940 from Athens, TX high school.  Her college years during WWII were in Dallas, TX at Southern Methodist University, from which she was later awarded an honorary Doctor of Humanities.  She married Curtis W. Castleberry in 1946 and together they reared 5 daughters.  The immediate Castleberry clan now numbers 50--children (5), sons-in-law (4), grandchildren (13), their spouses (9), and great-grandchildren (17).

Career:  Vivian spent 28 years as editor of the Living (features) section of The Dallas Times Herald, heading a staff of ten, covering traditional women's interest topics (food, fashion, home furnishings, and Society), plus pioneering the coverage of stories on the "cutting edge" of the second wave of the women's movement, topics, among others including abortion, child abuse, child custody, family violence, civil rights, and women's rights.  Vivian personally interviewed 7 first ladies--Pat Nixon, Betty Ford, Ladybird Johnson, Barbara Bush, Hillary Clinton, Roslyn Carter, and Laura Bush.  She and her staff covered the leaders of the women's movement both nationally and locally--Betty Friedan, Bella Abzug, Eileen Hernandez, Martha Wright Griffiths, Patsy Mink, Erma Bombeck, Flo Kennedy, Marian Wright Edelman, Gloria Steinem, Barbara Jordan, Ann Richards, Maura McNiel, Ginny Whitehill, Shirley Miller, Eddie Bernice Johnson, Louise Raggio. During this time in Vivian's career she was honored by ten different groups for contributions to humanitarian causes--the Dallas Press Club, Altrusa, Business and Professional Women, Soroptomist Club, Dallas International Cultural and Social Circle, Women's Center of Dallas....  More important, she was the founder of the Women's Center of Dallas, Women's Issues Network, the SMU Women's Symposium, and The Family Place. She created the Dallas Times Herald Women's Panel in 1959 and it continued for 19 years.  In 1986, having accomplished significant contributions to women and girls, she took early retirement and was on her way to a new career as a Peacemaker.  A highlight of her retirement was her induction to the Texas Women's Hall of Fame.

Ten days after Vivian officially retired from her career she was on the first of four visits as a Grassroots Citizen Diplomat along with 23 other women from across the U.S. led by Sharon Tennison, founder/CEO for the Center for Citizen's Initiatives. It was there, while saying goodbye to Dr. Lily Golden, professor of Anthropology at the University of Moscow, that the seeds for Peacemakers were first planted.  Dr. Golden challenged Vivian to "go home and bring us your women. Men have been talking of peace forever while still planning the next war. If we are to ever have peace on earth women must take the lead in making it happen."  Back home Vivian tried to ignore the admonition, but it would not go away.  She planned one international women's peace conference held in 1988 that drew 2000 delegates from 52 countries and 37 of the US states--and intended for this to be her assignment.  Her planning committee and board of directors had other thoughts in mind.  Through the years, Peacemakers has held two other international women's peace conferences held together by a coterie of professionals and volunteers including Rosann Naim, Barbara Middleton, Carol Donovan, Margaret Culgan, Norma Matthews, and Anita Marcos. In 2017, Peacemakers celebrates the 30th anniversary of its founding, with much to do in the future.