The Vision

Hello, I’m Barbara Talley. The Bible says, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” My vision to create these spaces was inspired in 2019 from reading Sadie Oglesby’s Pilgrim notes. It was then that I realized how God had blessed black people even though we had been the recipients of so much oppression for centuries. We didn’t know that we have a special station, because if we did, we would ARISE and take our rightful place as spiritual leaders among men.

I like many, was just praying, teaching, complaining and waiting for the change to come. I was waiting for the serried lines of diverse people to stand up against racism, sexism, classism, and injustice. I was waiting, and waiting, and waiting for the change to come. Rumi once wrote that what we are seeking is also seeking us. I also heard a speaker once say, “Maybe we weren’t brought here; maybe we were sent here?”

What if we were sent here? What if our survival from the evil institution of enslavement could have a more noble motivation and ending? So with a lot of inspiration from the Guardian’s admonitions to Sadie Oglesby and a bit of coaxing from friends, I committed to doing something more radical about racial prejudice myself. I’d worked in Diversity and put on educational events for decades, but still so much more needed to be done! So, after having healed from a deep depression from being heartbroken about too many complacent and complicit people, not committed to ending racism, I decided to do something about it myself. In my broken moments, asking God, “Why?” The spirit said, “How are you going to lead anyone else back from the ledge if you’ve never been there yourself?”

In May of 2019, as an individual initiative, and without time or resources, I committed to at least do my small part by creating safe spaces for people of African descent from the grassroots, to come together and heal, and to do it unapologetically. Many others arose to support, but outside of family, only Sue St. Clair really caught the vision in the beginning. She assisted in getting the Nashville Baha’i Center to host and sponsor us. Clearly, America and the world was and is still in great need of healing from the prejudices that have hijacked their souls and some of our souls too. Baha’u’llah explained that those of us that have been brought ‘low in the land’ have been shown favor. I am grateful for that favor for I also know that, “To him whom much is given, much is expected!” The results were the Pupil of the Eye (POTE) ARISE conference in Nashville in November 2019 (before Covid19).

With the support of Sue, and now a few other friends six months later, we put on our first virtual pupil of the eye conference over the Juneteenth weekend in June 2020 with the goal of continuing to help the descendants of Africans to ARISE and understand their special unique station as the “pupil of the eye” through which the light of the spirit shines through.  That marathon 60 hour zoom event was unprecedented and a huge success.

I have also been inspired to serve humanity as the developer of the Foundation Hall University (FHU) website at site, as its creator and “architect“, and its principal, I’ve learned that focused study is essential to understanding and arising to our given station. FHU is a study space that meets daily and focuses on the most vital and challenging issue which is the elimination of racial prejudice, to which everyone of whatever ethnicity is invited.

In addition as the visionary for the ARISE Pupil of the Eye Conference held in Nashville in November 2019, and virtually in June 2020, I’ve witnessed the healing power of people of African descent just coming together. I also got to serve as the visionary for the first Black and Native Unity conference in November. Seventeen months from the first intimation of what it means to be a POTE culminated with envisioning and co-planning of the Baha’i inspired Kwanzaa inspired ‘Diaspora Dialogues’ program this past December 26, 2020 – January 1, 2021.

I am a wife for 40+ years, the mother of six grown adults and have been blessed with fifteen grandchildren. I am a poet, author of six books, and an organizational change agent. As a fifth cousin to Harriet Tubman (Araminta Ross) through my mother, Dorothy Naomi Ross Scott, I have dedicated my life to freeing enslaved minds, in much the same way that Harriet dedicated her life to freeing enslaved bodies.


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