Inspire Friday Issue No. 28

Traditional spirituals with the Fisk Jubilee Singers, Barbie recognizes an icon, the Great American Rail-Trail, a conversation with Mr. Rogers, and more…

Traditional spirituals with the Jubilee Singers. Fisk University was founded in Nashville in 1866 as a university for freed slaves. Today, it is the home of the Fisk Jubilee Singers, an a cappella ensemble who keep alive the traditional spirituals first sung by enslaved people across America. In this video we meet some of the Jubilee singers as we’re introduced to the rich history behind their music, one of several musical stories featured in MFF’s America’s Musical Journey (available for viewing on YouTube). Watch here.

An unexpected National Park. When you think of National Parks, is your first thought about palm trees and warm, tropical seas? We didn’t think so. You’ll probably be surprised to learn there is a National Park in the U.S. Virgin Islands, located in the Caribbean Sea. Sit back and relax as this 3-minute film transports you to an unspoiled paradise. Mai tai, anyone? Watch here.

Barbie recognizes an icon. Dr. Maya Angelou—famous poet and civil rights activist whose work continues to inspire readers today—is the latest icon to be featured in Mattel’s “inspiring women” collection of Barbie dolls. The company began adding historic role models to its line in 2018 to inspire tomorrow’s generation of dreamers. Other historical figures include Rosa Parks, Ella Fitzgerald, Frida Kahlo and Amelia Earhart. Read more.

Sea lions ride waves to the tune of Wipeout. Even sea lions have to take advantage of great surf when they find it. This spectacular footage was captured off the coast of Santa Barbara Island within the Channel Islands National Park. To be honest, we’re a little jealous we weren’t there to join the fun. Watch here.

Cycling enthusiasts and hikers take note. More than 1,988 miles have been completed along the Great American Rail-Trail project—an epic biking/hiking trail built on disused railway tracks and 145 other existing paths that will eventually connect the nation from Washington, D.C to Washington State. Cycling has soared during the pandemic, and this 3,700-mile trail will serve 50 million people along its path. Happy trails! Read more.

Every week, MFF president Shaun MacGillivray shares what is inspiring him now, his favorite book recommendations, podcasts, articles, short films, docs, quotes, trends, innovative companies, people, and entrepreneurial stories.

Investing advice from one of the greats. “I loved this Invest Like the Best episode with Ram Parameswaran, founder of Octahedron Capital, a technology investment firm. Three-quarters of the way through the podcast, Ram goes through a lightning round of what he looks for as an investor in a variety of different online businesses, like advertising, subscription, e-commerce, payment, etc., It’s very informative. A great interview.” Listen here.

Life lessons from Mr. Rogers. “Author Fred Rogers is Mister Rogers from the long-running PBS show, and you can’t help but feel better after reading his book You Are Special. I loved his insights into parenting and his insights into being compassionate towards yourself. The Tom Hanks film A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood that depicts his life is also really good. Truly heartwarming.” Available here.

And for further inspiring reading recommendations…
Visit Shaun’s “Never Stop Learning” reading list.

Roadtripping to Florida. “In the summer of 1967, on our road trip to the East Coast to screen our film Free and Easy, Jim drove his Bronco with Bill Bennett as co-driver and I drove my Barracuda, a Plymouth, with 16-year-old projectionist Greg Pierre Bouret as my co-driver. Since we had nine screenings in different cities and needed to carry projectors, posters, and speakers, it was easier and cheaper to drive, even though it took us three and a half days across the country each way. By the time we got to Florida, Pierre and I couldn’t wait to hit the surf. We drove our car right up on the sand. It didn’t take us long to get the car stuck, but we were out in the water surfing in less than five minutes. About 20 kids helped us get the car unstuck a couple of hours later. Visiting Florida was like going to another country. The southern accents, the grits and okra, the hospitality of all those southern girls and boys, they were all exciting. We had a great time and learned a lot about our country.” —Greg MacGillivray


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