Tue, 13 October 2009
Dan Clark devotes this show to the 150th anniversary of John Brown's raid on the federal armory at Harpers Ferry (now West Virginia) on October 16, 1859, in an attempt to end slavery. Dan will take part in a conference there this week http://www.johnbrownharpersferry.com/ and visit a friend, a circuit court judge whose work takes him to the courthouse where the 1859 judge pronounced sentence after a fast trial. Brown and several comrades were executed a few blocks away. In his newspaper column this week, the Hon. John C. Yoder writes of the versions of the story he learned growing up in Kansas and going to school in Iowa. "When I moved to Harpers Ferry 25 years ago, however, I began to hear other sides of the story about John Brown," he writes. "Those other perspectives included a belief that his violence and fanaticism may have actually hindered and embarrassed, rather than helped, those who favored the abolition of slavery at the time." John says he supports a proposal to restore the original courtroom where Brown was tried. This could preserve a heritage "and hopefully bring even more tourism to the area." Here in Muscatine County, as elsewhere across Iowa, we are rediscovering remnants of our Civil War and pre-war history, including sites associated with Brown and fellow abolitionists. The June 23 show is also about this topic: http://muscatinetours.libsyn.com/index.php?post_id=495069. Dan says, "Maybe I'm crazy to be devoting so much attention to Brown and his followers, especially those recruited from this area and others who trained near here before following Brown to Harpers Ferry. Craziness is, after all, a central theme in this all-American story of direct action by citizens impatient for change. Whoever was crazy and however history judges those abolitionists and the slaughter that followed, it is still a very big story here."