239 Days in America, Day 120: August 08, 1912 | Dublin

The Rights Not Only of Women, But of Men 1

AGNES PARSONS AND HER husband, Jeffrey, walk down the hill from Tiny May to Day-Spring to meet ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. They are on their way to the Cabots’ for lunch. The grass is dry and Agnes’s shoes become dusty from the walk. As ‘Abdu’l-Bahá approaches, Agnes asks Jeffrey to clean them off for her. Jeffrey bends down to clean the shoes, and looks up at ‘Abdu’l-Bahá with a humorous expression which, Agnes will recall, “He enjoyed very much.”

In November in Chicago, in front of a group of women, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá will recall the incident with the shoes differently: “I said, ‘Madam! Do you also clean your husband’s shoes?’ She replied that she cleaned his clothes. I said, ‘No, that is not equality. You, too, must clean his shoes.’”

The suffragists are busy in 1912. The women of California won the right to vote on March 28. The suffragists paraded up Fifth Avenue in New York City on May 5. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá has argued vigorously for women’s rights from the first day he landed in America. But his memory of the incident with Agnes Parsons’s shoes in Dublin prompts him to argue for the equal rights of men, too.

Tuesday, August 8, 1912 2

One of the devoted friends asked the Master about imperfect realities and their immortality. He replied:

“All realities and spirits are immortal, even the spirits of non-believers and imperfect persons. But they cannot be compared in any way with the spirits of the sanctified souls and holy personages. Although this wood has existence, yet in comparison with the existence of man, it is as nothing.”

In the afternoon ‘Abdu’l-Bahá spoke at a public gathering. He touched on various aspects of love and unity among people and the necessity for cooperation and mutual assistance in human society. In answer to a question regarding vengeance, He replied that man has no right to seek vengeance but that the community is responsible for the protection of all life, property and honor. He then went on to say:

“The more material education advances, the more competitive is the race in aggression and injustice. But spiritual education is the cause of competition in praiseworthy actions and the acquisition of human perfections. We hope that day by day these injustices will diminish and the spiritual virtues increase.”

The Master went into another room where a young man with a striking personality and pleasing appearance asked Him in what school He had studied philosophy. The Master answered: ‘In the same school where Christ studied.’ He then asked the Master, ‘What is the relationship between God and nature?’ The Master replied:

“Some of the philosophers believe that God is the Supreme Reality and that every human being has a spark of this divine reality within him; that He Himself is in a state of utmost power and that all things manifest Him according to their different capacities. Therefore they hold that the Supreme Being is dispersed into infinite forms. This is the position of Plato. But we say that existence as conceived by man or comprehended through human reason or intellect is a characteristic of matter. Matter is like unto essence, while existence is its manifestation. The body of man is essence and existence is dependent upon it. This human body is matter while existence is a power conditioned on matter.

But it is not so with the Essential Self-Existent One. His existence is true existence which is self-subsistent, not an intellectually perceived and comprehended existence; it is an Existence by which all created things come into being. All things are like unto His handiwork and are dependent upon Him. We refer to Him as Self-Existent because we need to make use of a term but we do not mean that that Being can be contained within our comprehension. What is intended is the Reality from Whom all things emanate, the Reality through Whom all things exist.”

Not only was the questioner grateful and satisfied with this response but everyone else was also pleased.

’Abdu’l-Bahá in America, 1912-2012: Calling America to It’s Spiritual Destiny

Human spirit is immortal but there are differences in stations

Celebrating the Centenary: The Master in America

Curated by Anne Perry

August 8, 1912


  1. Menon, Morella. “The Rights Not Only of Women, But of Men.” 239 Days in America, 8 Aug. 2012, https://239days.com/2012/08/08/the-rights-not-only-of-women-but-of-men/.
  2. ’Abdu’l-Bahá, and Mirza Mahmud-i-Zarqani. Mahmúd’s Diary: The Diary of Mírzá Mahmúd-i-Zarqání Chronicling ’Abdu’l-Bahá’s Journey to America. Edited by Shirley Macias. Translated by Mohi Sobhani. Oxford: George Ronald, 1998. https://bahai-library.com/zarqani_mahmuds_diary&chapter=6#section137

239 Days in America, Day 87: July 06, 1912 | New York

‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s Impressions of New York 1

THE HOT SUN BEAT down on ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and his companions as they sat on the grass in an expansive New York park. One of them read aloud from the July 7, 1912 edition of The Sun, a popular New York paper. The half-page story was entitled: “ABDUL BAHA GIVES HIS IMPRESSIONS OF NEW YORK.”

“He hasn’t cared to see any of the notable buildings of New York and has not visited the museums and art galleries,” the article stated. In fact, “He has seen less of New York and this country than the average traveller from abroad, and although he is to remain here until fall, there is little likelihood that he will see much more before he departs.”

Despite an itinerary that has had him moving between New York, Washington, Chicago, Pittsburgh, Boston, and Philadelphia, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá can hardly be classified as a tourist. “I am not interested in things that are merely beautiful to look at,” he said. “I have nothing to do with mortar and clay. I wish to view an edifice that is never to be destroyed.”

Saturday, July 6, 1912 2

After morning prayers and visits with some Bahá’ís and non-Bahá’ís, the Master went for a long walk. It was His custom to go out for a walk before lunch and dinner.

A person of Greek ancestry invited the Master to go to a park outside of the city where a number of his friends, who desired to meet ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, had gathered. The Master went to the park. While traveling on the subway, He said:

“In man’s nature there must be a desire to ascend and not to descend. The underground air is suffocating. It would have been better if we had gone by road above. The Blessed Beauty used to say that it is even a pity that the dead body of man should be buried under the ground.”

When the Master entered the park, He sat on the grass and those who wished to meet Him came to Him.

Much of the time was spent listening to a translation of a long article that appeared in today’s issue of The Sun concerning ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s talk at a church. The reporter had been present when the address was given and had published the translation, adding a brief history of the Cause. In his article, he emphasized the force of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s reasoning in establishing the truth of all of the Manifestations of God, and in particular of Islam and this mighty Cause.

The newspaper was sent to the Assemblies in the East so they would be informed of the influence of the Cause and the prestige of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. In addition to such articles and comments in the newspapers of many cities, both Bahá’ís and non-Bahá’ís wrote eulogies and poems in praise of the Master. Everyone was full of praise for Him, which demonstrates the influence of the Cause in the West. There were even short, sweet poems written in English about His manners and mode of speech. Foremost among such poets was Mr McSway. When the Master was staying in New York, Mr McSway had written a booklet eloquently praising Him, which he intends to publish in the near future.

This evening the Master explained that the distinction of the world of humanity is due to its relationship to the world of the spirit.

For some time the Master had repeatedly instructed Lua Getsinger to return to California. She delayed her journey and then became ill. When the doctor’s medications proved of no avail, the Master gave her pomegranate preserve with an apple and she recovered.

Talk at 309 West Seventy-eighth Street, New York 3

In the world of existence man has traversed successive degrees until he has attained the human kingdom. In each degree of his progression he has developed capacity for advancement to the next station and condition. While in the kingdom of the mineral he was attaining the capacity for promotion into the degree of the vegetable. In the kingdom of the vegetable he underwent preparation for the world of the animal, and from thence he has come onward to the human degree, or kingdom. Throughout this journey of progression he has ever and always been potentially man.

In the beginning of his human life man was embryonic in the world of the matrix. There he received capacity and endowment for the reality of human existence. The forces and powers necessary for this world were bestowed upon him in that limited condition. In this world he needed eyes; he received them potentially in the other. He needed ears; he obtained them there in readiness and preparation for his new existence. The powers requisite in this world were conferred upon him in the world of the matrix so that when he entered this realm of real existence he not only possessed all necessary functions and powers but found provision for his material sustenance awaiting him.

’Abdu’l-Bahá in America, 1912-2012: Calling America to It’s Spiritual Destiny

Listening to a translation of a long article appeared in today’s issue of The Sun

Celebrating the Centenary: The Master in America

Curated by Anne Perry

July 06, 1912


  1. Jones, Caitlin Shayda. “’Abdu’l-Bahá’s Impressions of New York.” 239 Days in America, 6 July 2012, https://239days.com/2012/07/06/a-message-for-america/.
  2. ’Abdu’l-Bahá, and Mirza Mahmud-i-Zarqani. Mahmúd’s Diary: The Diary of Mírzá Mahmúd-i-Zarqání Chronicling ’Abdu’l-Bahá’s Journey to America. Edited by Shirley Macias. Translated by Mohi Sobhani. Oxford: George Ronald, 1998. https://bahai-library.com/zarqani_mahmuds_diary&chapter=5#section104
  3. ʻAbduʼl-Bahá. The Promulgation of Universal Peace: Talks Delivered by ʻAbduʼl-Bahá during His Visit to the United States and Canada in 1912. Edited by Howard MacNutt. 2nd ed. Wilmette, Ill: Baháʼí Publishing Trust, 1982, 225-226. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/16#040319417

239 Days in America, Day 83: July 02, 1912 | New York

The Memoirs of an American Painter 1

‘ABDU’L-BAHÁ’S JOURNEYS IN America were filled with interesting people. Beyond the rich and famous, there are many who are familiar to us only because they left vivid accounts about him. Juliet Thompson was such an individual. A reputable painter, speaker, and author, Thompson’s personal connection to ‘Abdu’l-Bahá defined her life and work. She displayed her affinity for him in her memoirs, published in 1947 as The Diary of Juliet Thompson, which would chronicle their time together in both the east and the west. . . .

On April 5, 1912, Juliet stood waiting at Pier 59 on the Hudson River as the Cedric, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s ship, pulled in at the White Star Line docks. She’d attend many functions he attended or spoke at while in the New York and New Jersey area, and spend much time with him in private conversation as well. She painted his portrait on June 1. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá spoke to an audience at her home at 48 West 10th Street on November 15.

On December 5, the day ‘Abdu’l-Bahá left America, Juliet was there to watch him go. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá was bound for Liverpool on board the Celtic. “It was death to leave that ship,” she wrote. “I stood on the pier with May Maxwell, tears blurring my sight. Through them I could see the Master in the midst of the group of Persians waving a patient hand to us. It waved and waved, that beautiful patient hand, till the Figure was lost to sight.”

New York City 2

On Tuesday [July 2] as Abdu’l-Bahá walked in the park by the river near His house, a group of persons of Greek ancestry who were strolling nearby introduced themselves and began asking questions. Abdu’l-Bahá talked to them of the Greek philosophers and the meaning of the history of Greece. “Then,” Mahmúd recorded, “He exhorted and encouraged them to acquire the virtues of the world of humanity. The attraction of His Beauty was so great that they spontaneously bowed to its influence. They came to the assembly of Bahá’ís that night and joined the group of lovers.”

Tuesday, July 2, 1912

After the usual morning prayers and thanksgiving to God, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá sent for us and offered thanks and praise to the Most Great Name for the assistance and protection vouchsafed by the Ancient Beauty.

The Master spoke with seekers and visited with friends until noon. After some milk and bread for lunch, He rested for awhile but the friends and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s companions remained to enjoy the generous lunch.

In the afternoon, a prominent gentlemen invited the Master to the Plaza Hotel, which is one of the most elegant hotels and a gathering place for the American elite. We went there to see the building. The Master sat in one of the small rooms. When the manager of the hotel offered to show Him the rest of the hotel, He did not accept. Afterwards the Master said to the friends: ‘When I see magnificent buildings and beautiful scenery, I contrast them with memories of the prison and of the persecutions suffered by the Blessed Beauty and my heart is deeply moved and I seek to avoid such sightseeing excursions.’

Tonight He spoke about God and creation: ‘The Kingdom of God’, He said, ‘is pre-existent and, since He is the Creator, without doubt He has always had a creation.’ 3

Talk at 309 West Seventy-eighth Street, New York, 1 July 1912

Difference of capacity in human individuals is fundamental. It is impossible for all to be alike, all to be equal, all to be wise. Bahá’u’lláh has revealed principles and laws which will accomplish the adjustment of varying human capacities. He has said that whatsoever is possible of accomplishment in human government will be effected through these principles. When the laws He has instituted are carried out, there will be no millionaires possible in the community and likewise no extremely poor. This will be effected and regulated by adjusting the different degrees of human capacity. The fundamental basis of the community is agriculture, tillage of the soil. All must be producers. Each person in the community whose need is equal to his individual producing capacity shall be exempt from taxation. But if his income is greater than his needs, he must pay a tax until an adjustment is effected. That is to say, a man’s capacity for production and his needs will be equalized and reconciled through taxation. If his production exceeds, he will pay a tax; if his necessities exceed his production, he shall receive an amount sufficient to equalize or adjust. Therefore, taxation will be proportionate to capacity and production, and there will be no poor in the community. 4

’Abdu’l-Bahá in America, 1912-2012: Calling America to It’s Spiritual Destiny

‘Abdu’l-Bahá avoided sightseeing excursions

Celebrating the Centenary: The Master in America

Curated by Anne Perry

July 02, 1912


  1. Tamas, Corey. “The Memoirs of an American Painter.” 239 Days in America, 2 July 2012, https://239days.com/2012/07/02/the-memoirs-of-an-american-painter/.
  2. Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 107-108.
  3. ’Abdu’l-Bahá, and Mirza Mahmud-i-Zarqani. Mahmúd’s Diary: The Diary of Mírzá Mahmúd-i-Zarqání Chronicling ’Abdu’l-Bahá’s Journey to America. Edited by Shirley Macias. Translated by Mohi Sobhani. Oxford: George Ronald, 1998. https://bahai-library.com/zarqani_mahmuds_diary&chapter=5#section100
  4. ʻAbduʼl-Bahá. The Promulgation of Universal Peace: Talks Delivered by ʻAbduʼl-Bahá during His Visit to the United States and Canada in 1912. Edited by Howard MacNutt. 2nd ed. Wilmette, Ill: Baháʼí Publishing Trust, 1982, 217. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/16#828752876

239 Days in America, Day 46: May 26, 1912 | Boston – New York

Baptism by Fire 1

AS ‘ABDU’L-BAHÁ APPROACHED Mount Morris Baptist Church at Fifth Avenue and 126th Street in Harlem at 7 p.m. on Sunday, May 26, 1912, he noticed the chorus of a popular Protestant hymn eddying out into the street.

Nearer, my God, to Thee, nearer to Thee!

E’en though it be a cross that raiseth me;

Still all my song shall be nearer, my God, to Thee..

This was the hymn the orchestra had played around midnight on the deck of RMS Titanic as she went down. Bands across the United States had played it at 3:30 p.m. on September 14, 1901, to commemorate President McKinley’s assassination. The Confederate band had played it beneath the late afternoon sun on July 3, 1863, as the few survivors of Pickett’s Charge at Gettysburg struggled back to camp.

Though like the wanderer, the sun gone down,

Darkness be over me, my rest a stone;

Yet in my dreams I’d be nearer, my God, to Thee.

This evening in Harlem, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá was about to talk about the meaning of sacrifice.

New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts 2

On Sunday morning, May 26, Abdu’l-Bahá prepared to return to New York for yet another visit.

He reached New York at 6:00 P.M., stopped by the Edward B. Kinney home, and then went to the Mount Morris Baptist Church, where the minister, J. Herman Randall, introduced Him. Abdu’l-Bahá told them …

Talk at Mount Morris Baptist Church , Fifth Avenue and 126th Street, New York 3

In the same way, the words I speak to you here tonight may produce no effect whatever. Some hearts may be affected, then soon forget; others owing to superstitious ideas and imaginations may even fail to hear and understand; but the blessed souls who are attentive to my exhortation and admonition, listening with the ear of acceptance, allowing my words to penetrate effectively, will advance day by day toward full fruition, yea even to the Supreme Concourse. Consider how the parable makes attainment dependent upon capacity. Unless capacity is developed, the summons of the Kingdom cannot reach the ear, the light of the Sun of Truth will not be observed, and the fragrances of the rose garden of inner significance will be lost. Let us endeavor to attain capacity, susceptibility and worthiness that we may hear the call of the glad tidings of the Kingdom, become revivified by the breaths of the Holy Spirit, hoist the standard of the oneness of humanity, establish human brotherhood, and under the protection of divine grace attain the everlasting and eternal life.

Sunday, May 26, 1912 4

‘Abdu’l-Bahá left Boston today but before leaving He attended a meeting of the Golden Circle [al-Halqatadh-Dhahabiyyah], the largest Syrian society in America. One of the learned men, Dr Georgi, introduced the Master and praised Him in the most beautiful words. Another gentleman, a poet of the Arabic language, read, with great reverence and respect, an ode he had written in praise of the Cause of God and the Master. Then ‘Abdu’l-Bahá rose and delivered a most eloquent address, which made the Syrians very happy. No one could have imagined that they would have been so attracted and moved to such a degree. When ‘Abdu’l-Bahá stepped from the pulpit, all rushed towards Him to shake His hand. An Arabic-speaking woman struggled out of the crowd with great difficulty and threw herself at His feet, saying, ‘I testify that in Thee is the spirit of God and the spirit of Christ.’

The meetings in Boston pleased the Master, especially the meeting with the Syrians, which He mentioned in particular, saying: ‘What a meeting it was! How the confirmations of the Blessed Beauty transformed the people!’

This was the last meeting in Boston. He left the hotel at noon, reaching New York by 6:00 p.m. Without any rest He went directly from Mr Kinney’s home to the Mount Morris Baptist Church. Standing under the arch of the church and leaning exhausted against a pillar, He addressed the meeting. He spoke of baptism and of the capacity of the soul to receive the breaths of the Holy Spirit. At the close of His talk He chanted a prayer. That night all saw with their own eyes the spirituality and innocence of Christ and the influence of the Holy Spirit. Let no one think that these are mere words; rather they are the expressions and feelings of all those who witnessed this. My premise is this: that in all the gatherings in America, the non-Bahá’ís look upon ‘Abdu’l-Bahá as a Prophet of God. Even though they are not Bahá’ís, their manners and conversations with Him are the same as they might use for their own Prophet and leader. All who come into His presence are seen in this condition. They all refer to the Blessed Being as the Messenger of Peace and the Prophet of the East in their speeches and writings. Although there are a few narrow-minded clergy who burn with the fire of jealousy, a large number of just ministers in every city have accorded Him the utmost reverence. Among them is the translator of those who spoke in praise of the Master. Their words indicate the quality of the audience and societies addressed by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and are a clear proof of the grandeur and power of the Greatest Branch.

’Abdu’l-Bahá in America, 1912-2012: Calling America to It’s Spiritual Destiny

Mahmud: May 26 – The last meeting in Boston: ‘What a meeting it was!’


  1. Sockett, Robert. “Baptism By Fire.” 239 Days in America, 26 May 2012, https://239days.com/2012/05/26/baptism-by-fire/.
  2. Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 73.
  3. ʻAbduʼl-Bahá. The Promulgation of Universal Peace: Talks Delivered by ʻAbduʼl-Bahá during His Visit to the United States and Canada in 1912. Edited by Howard MacNutt. 2nd ed. Wilmette, Ill: Baháʼí Publishing Trust, 1982, 149. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/11#078006261.
  4. ’Abdu’l-Bahá, and Mirza Mahmud-i-Zarqani. Mahmúd’s Diary: The Diary of Mírzá Mahmúd-i-Zarqání Chronicling ’Abdu’l-Bahá’s Journey to America. Edited by Shirley Macias. Translated by Mohi Sobhani. Oxford: George Ronald, 1998. https://bahai-library.com/zarqani_mahmuds_diary&chapter=3#section63.

239 Days in America, Day 30: May 10, 1912 | Washington, D.C.

The Amazing and Versatile Barneys of Washington 1

On ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s second day in Washington he spoke to a group of children who visit Alice’s [Barney] “Studio House” every weekend for Sunday classes. She had designed it years before, to showcase artifacts she had collected during her travels. Its Spanish Mission façade jumps out, in true Barney fashion, from the Beaux Arts style of the surrounding buildings. Tiger and bear pelts, mouths agape, are spread on the tiled floor. The columns in the first floor reception room bear bunches of carved grapes; the textures and colors of the fabrics are a feast for little hands and eyes. But perhaps the most surprising detail is what the house lacks: neither a bed nor a closet can be found in it.

But although the press knows Mrs. Barney primarily for her bizarre tastes, the Times also writes about her “deep sympathy with human kind.” The Studio House is not the only building in which Mrs. Barney has crystallized her ideals. Today, on May 10, 1912, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá will visit a settlement house that she established in 1901. The settlement movement in America aimed to improve the lives of the urban poor. It is here that Alice Barney applies her many talents, teaching sculpture, theatre, painting, and other arts to assist Washington’s less fortunate.

Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Washington, D.C.

On Friday, May 10, He spoke at a women’s meeting, visited a settlement house for children, and went to Mrs. Alice Barney’s for supper, where He talked late into the night. The next day ‘Abdu’l-Bahá left Washington. 2

Talk at Hotel Schenley, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 7 May 1912

The sixth principle or teaching of Bahá’u’lláh concerns the equality of man and woman. He has declared that in the estimation of God there is no distinction of sex. The one whose heart is most pure, whose deeds and service in the Cause of God are greater and nobler, is most acceptable before the divine threshold—whether male or female. In the vegetable and animal kingdoms sex exists in perfect equality and without distinction or invidious estimate. The animal, although inferior to man in intelligence and reason, recognizes sex equality. Why should man, who is endowed with the sense of justice and sensibilities of conscience, be willing that one of the members of the human family should be rated and considered as subordinate? Such differentiation is neither intelligent nor conscientious; therefore, the principle of religion has been revealed by Bahá’u’lláh that woman must be given the privilege of equal education with man and full right to his prerogatives. That is to say, there must be no difference in the education of male and female in order that womankind may develop equal capacity and importance with man in the social and economic equation. Then the world will attain unity and harmony. In past ages humanity has been defective and inefficient because it has been incomplete. War and its ravages have blighted the world; the education of woman will be a mighty step toward its abolition and ending, for she will use her whole influence against war. Woman rears the child and educates the youth to maturity. She will refuse to give her sons for sacrifice upon the field of battle. In truth, she will be the greatest factor in establishing universal peace and international arbitration. Assuredly, woman will abolish warfare among mankind. Inasmuch as human society consists of two parts, the male and female, each the complement of the other, the happiness and stability of humanity cannot be assured unless both are perfected. Therefore, the standard and status of man and woman must become equalized.

Among other teachings and principles Bahá’u’lláh counsels the education of all members of society. No individual should be denied or deprived of intellectual training, although each should receive according to capacity. None must be left in the grades of ignorance, for ignorance is a defect in the human world. All mankind must be given a knowledge of science and philosophy—that is, as much as may be deemed necessary. All cannot be scientists and philosophers, but each should be educated according to his needs and deserts. 3

Friday, May 10, 1912 4

Several distinguished people came to visit ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in the morning. After a private interview involving lengthy questions and answers, He spoke in detail on the preeminence and progress of this century and the decline of the dogmatic formalism of the nations.

In the afternoon ‘Abdu’l-Bahá spoke to a gathering of distinguished women on the rights and education of women. Later, after a drive in the park, He visited a home for the poor which had been established through the efforts of Mrs [Alice Barney-] Hemmick. In the evening, He spoke about the influence of the Cause of God, the spiritual power of Bahá’u’lláh, ending His talk with loving exhortations to the Bahá’ís.

The Master dined at the home of Mrs Hemmick and Mme [Laura] Dreyfus-Barney. Everyone was delighted to be in His presence and floated in a sea of happiness until late at night listening to His loving admonitions and exhortations.

  1. Jones, Caitlin Shayda. “The Amazing and Versatile Barneys of Washington.” 239 Days in America, May 10, 2012. https://239days.com/2012/05/10/the-amazing-and-versatile-barneys-of-washington/.
  2. Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 64.
  3. ʻAbduʼl-Bahá. The Promulgation of Universal Peace: Talks Delivered by ʻAbduʼl-Bahá during His Visit to the United States and Canada in 1912. Edited by Howard MacNutt. 2nd ed. Wilmette, Ill: Baháʼí Publishing Trust, 1982, 108. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/7#714526334
  4. ’Abdu’l-Bahá, and Mirza Mahmud-i-Zarqani. Mahmúd’s Diary: The Diary of Mírzá Mahmúd-i-Zarqání Chronicling ’Abdu’l-Bahá’s Journey to America. Edited by Shirley Macias. Translated by Mohi Sobhani. Oxford: George Ronald, 1998. https://bahai-library.com/zarqani_mahmuds_diary&chapter=3#section47.

239 Days in America, Day 7: April 17, 1912 | New York, NY

“Deceiving the American People” 1

Aboard the Cedric six days earlier in New York Harbor, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá had spoken to the reporters about the responsibilities of the modern mass media before he had said anything else. He had emphasized to the reporters who surrounded him that their papers did more than simply report news: they had the power to construct the public’s perception of what was true. “Newspapers are a mirror 2 which is endowed with hearing, sight and speech,” he said. “Those who play for their own little selfish ends give no true light to the world and perish of their own futility.” He later told his American friends to be careful about trusting anything they read about him, and only to invest their certainty in written words bearing his own signature.

First Days in America: New York City 3

Mahmúd, in recording ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s concern for racism, the most challenging issue in American society, wrote:

“As there existed enmity between the white and the colored races in America to such a degree that the white did not allow the colored to attend their meetings and other public functions, the Beloved strongly urged the friends to associate with each other in utmost joy and happiness. A successful meeting was convened in the home of Mr. Kinney where the audience consisted of friends and outsiders of both races—white and colored.”

‘Abdu’l-Bahá, the Exemplar, served these friends a meal which He prepared Himself, at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Edward B. Kinney. “It was,” Mahmúd wrote, “a magnificent supper.”

Talk at Home of Mr. and Mrs. Edward B. Kinney , 780 West End Avenue, New York

As difference in degree of capacity exists among human souls, as difference in capability is found, therefore, individualities will differ one from another. But in reality this is a reason for unity and not for discord and enmity. If the flowers of a garden were all of one color, the effect would be monotonous to the eye; but if the colors are variegated, it is most pleasing and wonderful. The difference in adornment of color and capacity of reflection among the flowers gives the garden its beauty and charm. Therefore, although we are of different individualities, different in ideas and of various fragrances, let us strive like flowers of the same divine garden to live together in harmony. Even though each soul has its own individual perfume and color, all are reflecting the same light, all contributing fragrance to the same breeze which blows through the garden, all continuing to grow in complete harmony and accord. Become as waves of one sea, trees of one forest, growing in the utmost love, agreement and unity. 4

Wednesday, April 17, 1912

Among the dignitaries visiting the Master were several New York clergymen who invited Him to speak to their congregations. The Master told them, ‘I am going to Chicago in two days and therefore am unable to accept your invitation.’

Owing to the prejudice and hatred that has existed between blacks and whites, it has been impossible for white people to invite black people to their homes. Therefore ‘Abdu’l-Bahá has repeatedly encouraged the believers to promote fellowship and unity among these two races. ’An important meeting was held today at the home of Mr Kinney. It was attended by many Bahá’ís and non-Bahá’ís and demonstrated a strong bond of unity between whites and blacks. The Master said that the East has always been the dawning place of light, that this gathering of blacks and whites is like the gathering of many colored flowers and that the variety of colors enhances the beauty of the garden and brings about the loveliness of each.

In the evening the Master invited everyone to dinner, which He Himself prepared. He spoke about unity and love and demonstrated to everyone how to serve at the threshold of the Blessed Beauty. Indeed, it was a blessed evening and a wonderful example of generosity and bestowal in the highest degree. 5

  1. Menon, Jonathan. “‘Deceiving the American People.’” 239 Days in America, April 17, 2012. https://239days.com/2012/04/17/deceiving-the-american-people/.
  2. “In this Day the secrets of the earth are laid bare before the eyes of men. The pages of swiftly-appearing newspapers are indeed the mirror of the world. They reflect the deeds and the pursuits of diverse peoples and kindreds. They both reflect them and make them known. They are a mirror endowed with hearing, sight and speech. This is an amazing and potent phenomenon. However, it behooveth the writers thereof to be purged from the promptings of evil passions and desires and to be attired with the raiment of justice and equity. They should inquire into situations as much as possible and ascertain the facts, then set them down in writing.”
    Baháʾuʾlláh. Tablets of Baháʾuʾlláh, Revealed after the Kitáb-i-Aqdas. Translated by Habib Taherzadeh. 1st ed. Haifa: Bahá’í World Centre, 1978, 39-40. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/bahaullah/tablets-bahaullah/2#382290640.
  3. Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 26.
  4. ʻAbduʼl-Bahá. The Promulgation of Universal Peace: Talks Delivered by ʻAbduʼl-Bahá during His Visit to the United States and Canada in 1912. Edited by Howard MacNutt. 2nd ed. Wilmette, Ill: Baháʼí Publishing Trust, 1982, 24. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/2#862373562
  5. Mahmud-i-Zarqani, Mirza. Mahmúd’s Diary: The Diary of Mírzá Mahmúd-i-Zarqání Chronicling ’Abdu’l-Bahá’s Journey to America. Edited by Shirley Macias. Translated by Mohi Sobhani. Oxford: George Ronald, 1998. https://bahai-library.com/zarqani_mahmuds_diary&chapter=2#section24