April how one man had attained so much

April 5, 1892

My tour of the Americas began today on a strong footing. I cannot be more excited about what the future holds for me. Oh, beautiful Ohio! Your beauty catches the eye in as much as it captivates the soul. The Allegheny Mountains’ foothills are a scene to behold. They are smoothly knit together into a work of art. My first look at them is a memory I will cherish for eternity. I cannot help but wonder how much adventure I was missing out on up until this point.

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As we walked through the plains of Columbia, they were so smooth. They were remarkable. The huge number of people is visible. I wonder how such large amounts of differing backgrounds, cultures, and beliefs could co-exist so peacefully. It’s incredible how they overcome all their differences to be as united as they were. At their workplaces, these people put in a lot of effort in a bid to achieve their collective goals. They value their work and are committed to the cause to the core. At their industries, women are given the opportunity to compete with their male counterparts. I wish it were this way back at home. Hopefully, we’ll get to that point as well.

No one challenged me as much as John D. Rockefeller. He passed as a total gentleman. A man who rose from the ashes through sheer determination and great effort. As he shared with me his thoughts and ideas, it was easy to see why he was so successful. His enormous success was merited. As a Protestant, it was easy to relate to him. He was a genuinely convicted man who attributed all his gains to the Almighty God. From my chat with him, his passion for Christ was evident. His capitalist ideas were also there to see. I was curious as to how one man had attained so much in the industrialization field. His response was sharp, calm and direct: “The growth of large businesses is merely a survival of the fittest.”

July 10, 1895

The moment I set foot in New Orleans, I fell in love with the place. The soothing music blazing on the street was something out of this world. It connected with my being, and for a moment, I believed I was home. It touched my soul, and in no time, I was free, dancing to its tunes all my worries and troubles out of sight. There is only beauty, joy and lots of enthusiasm here. There is a certain familiar calmness that I feel at this place. If only I could stay here forever.

The people here are kind and loving. They were quick to embrace me. They welcomed me warmly. I feel like I am one of them. Their liberality stands out. White and black receive the same status and recognition. Racial segregation is inexistent in this part of the country. Their women speak their minds out and express themselves. One woman on the streets stopped me on my strides with unmatched enthusiasm and expressed her joy in meeting me. Her name was Elizabeth. What a beautiful name that was. A beauty that rivaled her own.

As I sat on the grill at the center of the town sipping my glass of beer, the guy seated next to me could not stop talking. He seemed to have too much to say. He had a defiant bald head and a famous mustache that set him apart from the rest. He spoke with authority and fire. Mistaking him for a priest or a politician was easy. “The problem of the twentieth century is the problem of the color-line,” he declared. He visualizes a society free of racism where a black man receives equal treatment as a white man or an Asian man.

His cause is a noble one. I will forever his name, W. E. B. Du Bois. He truly is the noblest of all men. He deeply values education. I agree with most of the ideas he shared with us save but a few. Notably, it was easy to see his affinity with socialism, a school of thought that I am currently unable to subscribe to. Maybe someday he will be able to win me over again.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

February 15, 1899

Dallas stands out as the best place to live. It is the ideal place to raise a family. It was easy to see why their population was fast increasing and families were relocating to this place. Everyone seems to want a piece of this place. Religion is a huge appeal to these people. It is central to their lives. It was easy to fit in considering that they were majorly protestants.

Jane Addams captured my imagination with her conviction. I asked her: What is the place of women in city governance? She replied: Women have historically labored because of the private-public contrast where it was believed that their roles and voices were to be confined to the private sphere and that they had no place in the public place. Interestingly, the contrary is true. Management of the city is more or less the same as management at the homestead. Women have traditionally excelled in management. This means that they have specialized knowledge in management as compared to their male counterparts as such they are the best bet in the management of the city.

Fascinated by her insight and revolutionary thought, I posed her the next question. What are your views on classes existing amongst us? She responded instantly: It breaks my heart to see the existing classes around us. We are all born equal and in the image and likeness of our Creator. How comes those other individuals enjoy higher statuses than others?  Why should the rich plunder and merry while the poor suffer and labor? I believe in the equality of classes. I visualize a society of true equality where all individuals intermingle as though they are one. My vision is for a society where classes are a thing of the past. If only the world were as she imagined it to be. I cannot help but marvel at what a beautiful world it would be. My wish is that she lives to see that sort of world actualized.

August 19, 1901

My endless adventure brings me to Phoenix. Phoenix is all about nature. It has shades of Africa, yet it is much more intriguing. It is hard to imagine a place in this country as natural as Phoenix with its desert look that appeals to the heart. Its plantation is so attractive. Its sunshine radiates the entire place with a unique notoriety. You should be in Phoenix during sunset. Its beauty is something yet to be seen anywhere in this universe. As I watched the sunset so smoothly, I imagined myself in heaven. What a beauty it was! A beauty that is further enhanced by its art that is evident through the city paintings, such remarkable pictures.

At dinner time, my paths crossed with that of Jeremiah Simpson, the man renowned for being sockless. His sense of humor was easy to spot. Farming evidently had a special place in his heart. He was eager to tell the narrative of a farmer. I quizzed him on the issues facing the farmer. He responded: “Farmers are being faced with a myriad of problems that have been relegated and perceived as others as though they don’t matter.” An ordinary farmer puts so much effort in farming only to be disappointed by the low prices their products fetch in the market. The loans advanced to farmers further deepen their woes. The loans are inaccessible and where they are accessible, the farmers are charged high interests that cripple their activities.

 He did not stop there in making me understand the plight of farmers. He further remarked: Transporting products to the marketing is a hard ask for farmers. The shipping prices are unaffordable, making it easier to keep products at the farm than to sell it. Jeremiah Simpson might be sockless, but he is not gutless. He dares to defy and triumph. In him, farmers have a true ally who fights for their welfare and interests as though nothing else matters

 

March 24, 1905

It is easy to see to see why the hype is all about Las Vegas. It indeed is the full package. Growing up as a young kid I remember my elderly uncle describe what it is like to visit Las Vegas. He assured me with the sheer arrogance that I could see the world setting foot out of Las Vegas. His analysis is not off the mark. Today I witnessed with my own eyes that Las Vegas is the complete package. It is a place where all rogue fantasies are realized. The entertainment industry is booming. For the first time, I found out that I was missing out on so much fun without even knowing it.

As we sat around the gambling table in Casino Premiere, the suited lad on my right was having so much luck. Mother nature had smiled his way. He struck me with his humility which could only be rivaled by his friendliness. He introduced himself as Eugene Debs. I began a conversation with him in my drunken stupor. We ranged on a variety of topics. His love for the whole and collective action stood out. He strongly stated, “The Casino made huge profits, yet it continued to oppress its workers by paying them low wages. I advocate for their right to live dignified lives by receiving pay increases from their employers”. He proposes that for them to make that reality, the workers must form a union to fight for higher pay and better employment conditions. He believes that they deserve better by them being human. I am moved by his desire to serve even those he knows little about.

He weighed in on the debate of socialism versus capitalism. He subscribes to the latter school of thought. He believes that socialism is the key to human survival.  His solemn decree stuck with me: I am for Socialism because I am for humanity. We have been cursed with the reign of gold long enough. 

December 28, 1907

Los Angeles is just magical. Touring the famous city is like walking on stars. It’s sparkling with a life-changing perspective on life. It is indeed a cultural hub. The different cultures are proudly paraded across the city defiantly as though it is the meeting point for all cultures. That is not to say that it is short of entertainment. It is the center of entertainment and a breath into its sweet air gets me excited. I feel good. Everything is perfect here. There is enough joy and enthusiasm here enough for the whole world.

I lay on its beaches my head facing the sky, happy to be alive. At the corner of my eyes, I could see an equally happy reveler dancing to his own tune as though he was dancing to some smooth beat. I left my spot and joined in the dancing. I flew with the current and I found myself strolling down the beach next to him attempting to figure out what he was all about. I got to know that he was an army commander named George Armstrong Cuter. I asked: Is there any honor in war? He replied: “I wish that there was. There is little to celebrate in war; there is just death, darkness and loss. I wish that my life was simpler. If only I could spend more time with my lovely wife than in the battlefield fighting a war that might never end”.

His response got me curious. I inquired further: Why did you enlist in the first place? He responded: I believe in liberty. I got in the army to fight for freedom. It is a belief I am prepared to die for. It is better to die in freedom than to live in servitude. I will spend all the days of my life fighting for my freedom, that of my sweet wife Lucia, your freedom and the freedom of people like me and you. I have no regrets about the choice I made whatsoever. I am only proud to have been honored to serve.

 

November 1, 1909

As I set foot in San Francisco, I was fascinated by the beauty of its houses. It is breathtaking. Its architecture is just outstanding. Their towering buildings tell the San Francisco story. It tells of the resilience of its people and their determination to stand tall never to be defeated. Its towering skyscrapers are not as beautiful as Phoenix, but they are just as impressive.

Today, I happened to share a table with the renowned Thomas Edison. I was eager to learn how he had achieved so much success by making one invention after the other. I asked: Is education key to your rise from a humble beginning to a household name? He smiled before responding: “Education is critical in our lives. It is an eye-opener. The quest for education is unending. However, you should not be limited to what has been documented. Venture out of the ordinary; it is in this way that you can make personal strides in life. It is only in this way that you can create a path where there was none”. This is the mentality of an inventor. A mentality of going out of the known. This is my mentality.

Impressed by his answer, I decided to dig in. I inquired: What is your perception of poverty? He responded: As a wealthy man, one might be mistaken that I know nothing about poverty. I know too well what poverty is all about. I have been there before. I have experienced it all. In another life where the rest of the world knows so little about, I was also poor. But I refused to accept that I was destined to be poor. Poverty is a state of mind. It is the belief that you are defeated in an unforgiving world. Once you harbor such negative thoughts then you are finished, your life ends before it begins. I fought back, put in a lot of effort, and was determined to make something of my life in the right way. The hours of hard work I put in, fortunately, paid off.  

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