|09-22-2012, 11:12 AM||#1|
Joined: Jun 2006
“Bless this family and grant it happiness
In 1912, ‘Abdu’l-Baha Abbas, the eldest son of the founder of the Baha’i faith, came to America.
Among his stops was a special visit to Lincoln to see William Jennings Bryan at Fairview, his home.
'Abdu'l-Baha spent 239 days in America, traveling coast-to-coast promoting unity, international peace and sharing a conviction establishing the “oneness of humanity.”
Imprisoned in Turkey for 40 years for his religious beliefs, ‘Abdu’l-Baha called upon America to become a land of spiritual distinction and leadership and provided a vision for the nation’s spiritual destiny.
Sunday -- 100 years to the day since ‘Abdu’l-Baha’s Sept. 23, 1912 visit -- Lincoln’s Baha’i community will commemorate the anniversary by touring each of the places the Baha’i leader visited during his 1912 stopover.
The public is invited to join the self-guided tours as well as attend a commemoration program at 4 p.m. at Lincoln Woman’s Club, 407 S. 14th St.
The program includes a message from Rep. Jeff Fortenberry; a presentation by Billie Kay Bodie, a member of the Regional Baha’i Council for the Prairie States; storytelling; and a performance by the Redwood Piano Trio of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
The Baha’i faith is centered on one -- one God, one earth, one humanity; and the conviction that together we will find peace. Separate, intolerant and prejudiced, “peace is impossible and the human world will not be composed and secure,” according to Baha’i teachings.
'Abdu’l-Baha was 68 when he arrived in America on April 11, 1912.
His arrival in Lincoln made headlines in the capitol city's two newspapers: The Lincoln Daily Star and the Lincoln Daily News.
“Baha’is in Lincoln feel privileged that their city is an important part of Baha’i history because it was blessed by the presence of ‘Abdu’l-Baha,” said Brian Lepard, public information officer of the Lincoln Baha’i community.
‘Abdu’l-Baha spent eight months from April to December 1912 in the United States. He specifically wished to stop in Lincoln to visit Nebraska statesman William Jennings Bryan and his family because in 1906, Bryan and his wife visited ‘Abdu’l-Baha in the Holy Land and ‘Abdu’l-Baba wanted to return the courtesy, Lepard said.
Although Bryan was out of town that day, 'Abdu’l-Baha had tea with Bryan’s wife and daughter.
He penned his signature on the historic guestbook and wrote a prayer for the Bryan family in Farsi. Interpreted, it reads:
“Bless this family and grant it happiness in both this world and the world to come. Confirm this distinguished person in the greatest service to the human world, which is the unity of all mankind, that he may attain to Thy good pleasure in this world and obtain a bounteous portion from the surging ocean of Divine outpouring in the luminous age.”
The guest book and prayer are currently on display at the Nebraska History Museum, 15th and P streets, and will remain available for public viewing through Sept. 30.
‘Abdu’l-Baha’s visit to America was more than historic. His teachings about equality for all, peace and unity among all peoples were accentuated by highly public and symbolic acts.
On April 23, 1912 -- just 12 days after his arrival in the United States. -- 'Abdu’l-Baha was honored at a luncheon in the home of a prominent Persian diplomat. Noticing that only white faces had gathered around the elegant dining room table -- each seated by rank and social position, as was in keeping with Washington protocol -- 'Abdu’l-Baha suddenly stood and asked for Mr. Gregory.
Louis Gregory was an African-American attorney who had escorted ‘Abdu’l-Baha to the diplomat’s house. Uninvited to the white table, he had taken his leave in another room. But ‘Abdu’l-Baha not only insisted Gregory get a seat at the table, but he invited Gregory to sit in the most honored of places -- to his right at the head of the table.
100 years later, tracing Baha'i leader's footsteps : The (402)/411