Mahmud writes: "Early in the morning `Abdu'l-Bahá received newspapers giving news of His arrival, His addresses and the meetings of the Bahá'ís, and describing the respect shown to Him, each report having a photograph of Him taken with us."
Ward details aspects of press coverage in chapter 5 of 239 Days. May 5 Cleveland Plain Dealer: "GIVES NEW CREED TALK . . . Abd-ul Baha . . . comes to Cleveland from Chicago, where his ardent followers recently dedicated a temple. . . It is expected a branch will be formed here." May 6: "BAHAISTS TO HEAR VENERABLE LEADER . . . There are a number of followers of the Bahist movement in Cleveland. Converts are expected as a result of the visit of Abdul Baha. Some Cleveland believers when to Chicago last week to the dedication of the Bahaist temple. . . ."
And in the May 6 Cleveland News: "WED RACES? SURE . . . Perfect results follow the marriage of black and white races. All men are the progeny of one. . . . They are of different colors, but the color is nothing."--`Abdu'l-Bahá . . . "I believe Abdu'l Baha is absolutely right. It is inevitable that all races will unite. Black and white and yellow will intermarry and make one perfect race. It is the only logical conclusion."--Mrs. C.M. Swingle"
Logic aside, that must have been a dramatic article for 1912. [See Ward for more coverage on subject of intermarriage.]
|Lua behind the Master, bearing tea service|
(at the Wilhelm house in Teaneck, NJ)
Interesting to note: Lua and Edward Getsinger were living in Cleveland and had gone to Chicago for the meetings there. They must have been thrilled to have the Master come to Cleveland--perhaps they even arranged it. There were about 100 Baha'is in Cleveland at the time.
Mahmud continues his May 7 account: "Shortly afterwards He received a letter from a dignitary of the city, who stated that after reading the newspapers and reflecting on the teachings of the Cause, he was convinced of its truth and greatness and wished to submit to `Abdu'l-Bahá a statement of his conviction and recognition of the Faith.
We left Cleveland at 8:00 a.m., arriving in Pittsburgh around noon. The friends in Pittsburgh, who had been informed by telegram of `Abdu'l-Bahá's arrival, were waiting at the station. When the train pulled in, they were overjoyed to see Him and followed Him to the Hotel Schenley where He was staying.
After an hour's brief rest, `Abdu'l-Bahá received many people who had been invited by the friends to meet Him. Some were leaders of the Jewish community who invited Him to address their congregations. However, owing to a previous commitment at the Peace Congress in New York City, He was not able to accept their invitation.
There was a large meeting in the evening at the hotel for the friends in Pittsburgh. `Abdu'l-Bahá spoke on the teachings of Bahá'u'lláh, His address ending with these words: `The East must acquire material civilization from the West and the West must learn divine civilization from the East.' Everyone expressed their appreciation of the teachings with the utmost sincerity.
A little later a group of philosophers, doctors and journalists met with `Abdu'l-Bahá. He spoke to them in detail about composition and decomposition and the diagnosis of disease:
If one is fully cognizant of the reason for the incursion of disease and can determine the balance of elements, he can cure diseases by administering the food that can restore the normal level of the deficient element. In this way there will be no need for medicines and other difficulties will not arise.
After a detailed discussion of this subject, He asked them, `Although animals do not know the science of medicine, why, when they are sick, do they abstain instinctively from what is injurious to them and eat foods that are beneficial, while man, when ailing, inclines more to that which is injurious to him?' They had no answer to this question and stated that the Master knew the answer better than they.
`Abdu'l-Bahá then gave a description of the extraordinary power of the world of humanity and the freedom of man from the limitations of nature:
Since man's attention is not confined to one interest, his negligence is greater; while his comprehension is greater than that of all other creatures when it is focused and fixed on one subject.
Thus did the Master speak to the group of journalists, philosophers and doctors, who thanked Him for His discourse."
Ward notes that the friends in Pittsburg kept asking `Abdu'l-Bahá if He liked His rooms in the Hotel Schenley. He kept responding "Very good!" but later exclaimed to Dr. Zia Bagdadi, "They do not know what we had to go through in the past," then referred to the conditions of imprisonment and exile and the fact that He had to accept the morgue of the barracks and lived there for about two years. "Now the kind friends here wish to know if I like these magnificent rooms!"