I would love the chance to talk to Frederick Douglass and get his advice about the crisis of American democracy and the continuing struggle to combat the poisonous strain of white supremacy. I sure could use a hike with Teddy Roosevelt—yes, to discuss the state of the environment and any ideas he might have to redirect our course—but also to savor a back trail in Yosemite and talk about his beloved son Quentin who he lost in WWI. How abut an evening with Josephine Baker to hear about her work in the French resistance fighting the Nazis and her life as an American in Paris? Or maybe a nightcap in New York City with John Lennon? (I’m still hurting over his loss and yearning for more music from him and the chance to know what he would have been like as he got older.)
I could go on—how about a chat with Albert Einstein, to hear his multi-dimensional mind at work, have a laugh with Mark Twain, reflect on courage with Harriet Tubman or swap story ideas with journalist Nelly Bly?—but I welcome the chance to hear who catches your imagination: What historical figure would you like to meet? And why? Feel free to be frivolous or deadly serious. As you see from my brief reflection, I focused on Americans, but you are welcome to expand the list from around the world. As always, please be respectful of each other.
Photo: Albert Einstein arriving to New York by passenger ship. From Bettmann/Getty Images.
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