John Brown has been called “the most controversial of all 19th Century Americans”. He was a strident abolitionist who has been viewed as both a fanatic and martyr for the raid on the Harpers Ferry armory he meant to ignite a slave uprising, an act that is viewed as a catalyst for the Civil War. That raid happened 150 years ago October, and Brown was hanged 150 years ago this week, and the famous “John Brown’s Body” traveled through Philadelphia, the home of the largest northern free black community, after his execution. On today’s Radio Times, we’ll talk to DAVID S. REYNOLDS, author of “John Brown, Abolitionist: The Man Who Killed Slavery, Sparked the Civil War and Seeded Civil Rights”; SEAN WILENTZ, Princeton University History professor; and CHARLES L. BLOCKSON, a Philadelphia-based African American Historian and book collector and curator emeritus of The Charles L. Blockson Afro-American Collection at Temple University.
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