We hear a lot of news that encourages us to enjoy the present, reminding us to “Be Here Now“, as author Ram Daas would say.

Sage advice, as many of us rush around anguishing about past events we can’t change, or worrying about the future which isn’t even guaranteed to arrive.

What can historical voices tell us?

And when do we get to be truly present in the moment?

For me, it is often in the instant that I learn something remarkable – something I had no idea even existed – when I am rooted to where I stand, and the ground below my fee seems changed forever. We’ve found that researching the content for Ever Widening Circles is good for that sort of daily shift in perspective. (We hope you check in on us daily!)

Today I experienced one of those moments when I heard the actual voices of former slaves – black Americans who actually lived in the last generation of slavery – talking about their hopes and sharing their insights. I had no idea these recordings existed! Thanks to the Library of Congress, the wonderful recordings of historical voices do indeed exist…and they are absolutely magical!

So, how does this relate to living in the moment and to be here now?

Have a listen and see what you think.

(*** To get to the recordings from the interviews done in the 1930’s, skip ahead in the podcast to 44:40 in this recording. The whole program is incredible so you can go back, if you have the time, to hear the back story on these historic recordings, but the part we really wanted you to hear begins at 44:40!)

Remarkable, huh? In fact it’s so remarkable I had to listen to it three times just to catch the many things I missed while pondering the lightning bolt-sentences that these wise old folks formulated to express their life experiences.

These moments – those that force us to be totally present – are rarely forgotten. Here’s one of my favorite quotes from the recordings we’ll point you to in a moment, the moment a young boy at the time remembers when he heard his family had gone from legally owned slaves… to legally free men and women:

“And he call me and told me to run down in the field and tell Peter to turn the people loose, that the Yankee coming. And so I run down in the field and, and whooped and holler, they done, he done told them Mr. [Gaeggles (?)] said turn the people loose because the Yankee coming.”
-Wallace Quarterman, age 87 2

So as it is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (January 19, 2015) here in the U.S., we are reminded to consider the injustices of our past, and we can use those voices to inspire acceptance, wiser action, and compassion in our present?

On last thing: Thank gosh someone followed their passion and made these recordings.

Don’t you love how every great thing starts with an idea in an ordinary person’s mind, and then takes on a life of it’s own? The way people move things from thought to reality is part of what we are celebrating every day at EWC!

Historical Voices

To hear more amazing recordings from former slaves, head on over to the BackStory with The American History Guys website. This is a nationally syndicated, hour-long, weekly public radio show.

Each week they take some aspect of history that you might think you know a lot about, and they explore the interesting aspects of the subject that haven’t made the history books. It’s always an interesting program. I never miss it.

You can also find more links to former slaves recounting their stories on the Library of Congress website loc.gov here, or on another popular podcast website called Story Corps.

To continue widening your circle of influence, knowledge, and life with Ever Widening Circles check out yesterday’s early celebration of 2015’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Day where we discussed United States House of Representatives Congressmen and 1960s Civil Rights activist John Lewis and his incredible capacity for love and discipline in the face of adversity!

57 minutes

Congressman John Lewis and the Art of Disciplined Nonviolence

Today we introduce you to a remarkable place to listen to some of the most interesting people on the planet. I never miss a weekly podcast called OnBeing.org, with host Krista Tippett. In this podcast she speaks with the extraordinary John Lewis, a key player from the Civil Rights movement in America's 1960s.

Read More

If you’re curious as to how these former slaves could fight through such horror and adversity, take a look at the following article which looks at how, in situations where the body or mind could easily be destroyed, some folks walk away unscathed!

11 minutes

Deep Survival: The Qualities That Make a “Survivor”

What separates survivors from those who don't make it? Turns out they have some things in common that we can all use daily! We explore <em>Deep Survival</em> in today's feature.

Read More

Meanwhile, stay open, curious and hopeful!

~ Dr. Lynda

Want to see more positive news, fun or insights?

Scroll down to see more articles proving “it’s still an amazing world,” or head to our homepage to check out our latest articles, circles, and archives! Even better, subscribe below to receive the latest from EWC right to your inbox!

Notes:

  1. The History Guys. “HENCEFORTH FREE.” BackStory. 16 Jan. 2015. BackStory with the American History Guys. Web. 19 Jan. 2015. <http://backstoryradio.org/shows/henceforth-free/>.
  2. The History Guys. “HENCEFORTH FREE.” BackStory. 16 Jan. 2015. BackStory with the American History Guys. Web. 19 Jan. 2015. <http://backstoryradio.org/shows/henceforth-free/>.

Dr. Lynda is a dentist, artist, global traveler, and philanthropist who looks for potential and shares it with the world.