“This is a new cycle of human power. All the horizons are luminous.” These were among the first words uttered in the West by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, who came from the Holy Land to engage Europe and America in a new conversation. Invited to speak at the Lake Mohonk peace conference and other progressive platforms, He traveled with a message of universal peace, the unity of East and West, racial harmony, gender equality, and a visionary view of America’s future, captivating all strata of American society. He was 67 years old and in frail health, having lived much of His life as a prisoner and an exile, as the son of Bahá’u’lláh, Founder of the Bahá’í Faith. During His 239 days in the United States and Canada, He encountered thousands of people while traveling from coast to coast, attracting the notice of the press and imbuing America with a new sense of its destiny.
Among the many Americans he met were leaders of the day including President Theodore Roosevelt, inventor Alexander Graham Bell, explorer Admiral Peary, reformer W.E.B. DuBois, philanthropists Phoebe Hearst and Andrew Carnegie, artists Kahlil Gibran, Alice Pike Barney, and Theodore Spicer-Simson, peace advocates Jane Addams and Sarah Farmer, and a host of others including Samuel Gompers, Rabbi Stephen Wise, and David Starr Jordan, President of Stanford University.