By Jack August Jr., Guest Rogue
In 2007, then-91 year-old Raul Castro addressed a packed auditorium at the Arizona Historical Foundation’s annual Goldwater Lecture Series at Arizona State University. At the time, I served as Executive Director of the foundation, which, among other things, maintained the personal and political papers of Sen. Barry Goldwater.
Two hundred mostly conservative and arguably skeptical supporters of the legendary Arizona senator were curious to see what the former Democratic governor, judge, and ambassador had to say.
After introducing him, I sat down and watched Castro stride to the podium; he had no notes. He launched into a one-hour presentation that seemed like ten minutes, telling his life story, touching upon the role that education played in his life, his years as a “hobo” riding the rails, his undefeated professional boxing career, and his countless experiences of prejudice and adversity.
But the overarching theme in his talk was the promise that America held for all its citizens. When he finished the audience exploded in applause and stood on their feet clapping for several minutes. It was a stunning performance.
The distinguished professional career of Castro, who died last week, stood in stark contrast to the adversity inherent in his humble beginnings, which only hardened his resolve and strengthened his determination.