Barbara Smoker (1923 – 2020)

A promoter of “causes many of us now take for granted,” Catford born campaigner and humanist activist Barbara Smoker believed in surviving “on her wits” and “making an extra bit on the horses.” She once “embark[ed] on a crusade around the neighbourhood, telling all the kids that there was no Santa Claus… [so that she could prove to them] they were being made fools of, and I was only saving them from this indignity” and amongst her many other pronouncements was to announce that “an eternity in heaven – that would be hell.” Pro-alphabet reformist Smoker also claimed to have manufactured the first ‘Make Love, Not War’ badges and in 2013 gave the following advice in The Oldie: “Don’t always be obedient. Obedience is overrated. You’ve got to work out your morality for yourself, not do everything you’re told. Obedience can be more of a vice than a virtue.” Amongst her written works were My Godforsaken Life and Good God! A String of Verses to Tie Up the Deity.

3 COMMENTS

  1. She sounds like an amazing lady, would love to have had a large vodka and tonic with her, that’s for sure. I will follow her advice and I wont always be obedient.

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