In a world that suddenly seems lost, one only has to look two places to find navigational aids called honesty, inspiration, and optimism. The first place is the island of Anguilla. The second is historian and storyteller David McCullough.
May 30, 2017 marked the 50th anniversary of Anguilla’s revolution. It was one of the most remarkable uprisings against economic, social, and political injustice the world has ever seen.
On the fifth Tuesday in May in 1967, Anguilla said, “Enough is enough.” It was time for belittled Anguilla to stand up for its rights. It did.
David McCullough is a highly esteemed author, historian, and storyteller. His latest book is called The American Spirit. The book’s subtitle reads: “Who We Are and What We Stand For.”
National Public Radio (NPR) recently said, “The American Spirit arrives at a time in which optimism is in short supply on both sides of the political spectrum. McCullough urges us to keep the faith, and to quit second-guessing those who came before us.”
In 2014, shortly after Ronald Webster — Anguilla’s Father of the Nation — asked me to do a favor on his behalf after he died, I sought advice from Mr. McCullough.
“What should I do about Ronald’s dying wish?” I asked America’s most highly acclaimed living historian.
“Write a book,” he said.
Early in my forthcoming book I write:
“History is a great enabler. It’s because as much as history shines a light on our past, it serves as a navigational aid to the future. If you let history do its job, it can offer the direction of barely discernible light seen through thick fog, or through a storm at night. History, like light refracting through the Fresnel lenses of a lighthouse miles in the distance, can guide us through stormy periods, especially those characterized by low or poor visibility and turbulence.”
It’s true. History connects us to our past; it also guides us to the future.
The next time you are feeling lost, bullied, vulnerable, obscure, alone, isolated, disconnected, unsure or unwanted, and you’re looking for some honesty, inspiration, and optimism, I’d encourage you to do one or both of two things: 1.) Read McCullough’s The American Spirit; and, 2.) Get to know Anguilla and it’s equally remarkable story.
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