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the relation of the free blacks community of white farmers that surrounded them is unclear really at home there are those who claim it was just just fine at the head of the local blake farmer is so accepted them and unknown they became integrated part of the community and those who argue quite other i'm inclined to think that it was quite other than that it was a stressful on a strained relationship there were in that part of the state and it's a state that the northeastern corner of new york state number of quakers unknown abolitionists families those descendants today are quite proud of that perfect and i'm and no doubt they were they had good relations with with those folks but there were also as anywhere on the
number of people who were scratching out a living on land that they could barely afford to live on and i resented the intrusion of these these black americans who were in i know who seem to them to be new competition at first and you're greeted with love with other racist the condescension and numb and i am dismissive guess i think i don't think there's any question about that come soon after the well with the civil war most of those families disappeared or elsewhere and would either candidate or doubt that brooklyn are or where they came from or they bought land and preps ohio or someplace like that they didn't stay so they were so integrated into the community that they stayed low water to family stayed on in to the twentieth century but they're apparently no
descendants of those families there now so i think that tells us something that that as soon as they could they left undone but not a great deal is known about her why didn't brown's children go to kansas republican to separate the older sons headed down into kansas i think for the same mix of reasons an awful lot of northerners new englanders then in the highlands went to work to kansas cheap land and and it looked so great moral issue of the time would be decided this or you could both be altruistic and adventure self at the same time and you know as you dig on principle and and a combat
with it with a nice piece of went through it was opening up the west kennedy many southerners went into the region with something of the same and to mix today they're mostly poor people and less poor settling are getting free or cheap land for next to nothing that they could form and they could say to themselves they were defending a cause as well so one of the sons brown sons i think would for those reasons these were after all farmers and that was how they intended and twenty two had to take care themselves and their families and their grandchildren song selected they happen to be principled men as well and so it was meaningful on the decision to go down into kansas was i got there it turned out of course to be a lot tougher than they imagined
the climate in the circumstances opposition from the pro slavery is was quickly apparent to them in and was threatening to burn them off their land so what's a guy thing they could simultaneously and the defending their land and and fighting any interest because they believed so the the double impulse continued into the out into the young kansas war for you would be not just a fighting an order to have free the slaves but you would also be fighting to defend your turf your land your whole ear protect your family or if you're a southerner a pro slavery you would be fighting not just to preserve the rights to hold slaves but to also defend your ear hole in your family
so the ferocity of the fight i think was probably the generated by those twin motives much so that both the pro slave forces and the un and the un free state forces and brown's family was so many ways typical american art and apparently most of the early settlers who ended up fighting on the ground in the kansas were with they're with those with a combination of voters who wasn't your idealism on the one hand it wasn't purely a land grab or our settlement other it was the next round does the reluctance here it identifies people's perceptions and it's interesting that him i was also the day goes into his house prof throughout pristina down
into kansas has to be seen in the light of his age he was he was a man and it was that he was fifty seven years old and has a say you mentioned already in and buy actuarial tables of leaking fifties that was an old man and i was so many ways a very brave and perhaps even foolhardy thing for a man his age to write down into kansas and so yeah his reluctance to me seemed perfectly natural under the circumstances why we go charging officer young man's fight in ways that you know already three sons down there and more in their way are willing to go why should he charge of an extraordinary thing to me is that he did go oh then he was willing to pick up the ticket this is his rifle and a nerd and a huge source of the wagon and unknown drive down there i think to brown went for a mix of motives basically what for spoiling for a fight hoping to make this am i a significant
time act against slavery but they also went to the bailout is science they had been had written asking him for weapons and for supplies it was the winter was colder than they thought it was going to be they were living in these pathetic little tense out there and then a swat me it was tougher to live than ever imagined and brown britain didn't just bring the rifles he brought the nails and salt pork and crackers so he brought them to supply so they could live in the way he went out to rescue his sons are also sick nothing is simple you know as we sometimes think it is and browns going down to kansas his son's going to kansas the first place was this next quiz for a range of reasons father brown himself or going down there but also for a mix of reasons many had feared sons and daughters in law and a grandchild
out there who could be starving and you season the custodial a shepherd father perry is a warrior is guns rifles missiles so sheppard is going down the way in the same sentence the surprising answer is that it's not the top that kansas's to my boss and it's an interesting is for people to a terror the day in and i think certainly if you revealing ways on the kansas will was probably like the balkan wars of the last couple of years and bus in kosovo and so forth in that and that is this is not a case of two military forces organized coherent organized from the top down and lead going to war against each other but rather small bands of command
attacking each other's homes and burning into the ground and killing their livestock and lead rather loosely through no chain of command by the top fairly cynical political operatives angling for a position and they're and they're in washington or in the governor's chair and florence are in india miranda priestly capital over and we are worth on the ground i think it was probably a lot like bookends to cruel and and merciless and and physically miserable you know the climate the weather that is the difficulty of living under those circumstances is day to day with no logistical backup know there was no oil supply depot that would
provide you with the warm clothing your food where are the weaponry to replace the old and worn out home or livestock or horses and it was it was tough tough tough and when it's probably hard for us to imagine and for fans of the last days i just have this image of the brand had a brown christmas hero to them and there's the story of writing you know the menace of the old man what's that when brenna says transform from just being another one of many minor girl the chieftains most of his followers were
related to him by blood or marriage into a year anti slavery spearhead i lost the fidel castro of kansas idaho speier eager young men from connecticut and vermont to go out there and join him it's it's an amazing transformation in some ways an end he he does so fascinating things in order to facilitate that i'm sure one of the things is the head is certainly armed his business and only appeared in public of armed to the teeth with sabers and are revolvers and sharps rifles and dump and around the wagon that apparently had all kinds of spears and attached to it and sticking up in the air up it says what they really were they were long poles with the sabres were bolted at the end at the end
of this as well all wore waggoner so it was a frightening thing as a disco mostly a public relations ploy a subway probably utterly useless as a military vehicle but it might have struck fear into the hearts of the votes of those pro slavery settlers from arkansas and end points it's really it's really interesting world in twenty eleven and i think it's a surprise even have the possibility of becoming more than someone who would go on out to you bailout of the sons and their wives and their attempt to settle there with supplies and in the leadership and putting conduct at the international way to some some aggressive actions against a pro slavery into someone who has become emblematic of the entire movement the leader of the entire movement i think it surprised him
American Experience
John Brown's Holy War
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Interview with author Russell Banks, 5 of 5
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WGBH (Boston, Massachusetts)
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Martyr, madman, murderer, hero: John Brown remains one of history's most controversial and misunderstood figures. In the 1850s, he and his ragtag guerrilla group embarked on a righteous crusade against slavery that was based on religious faith -- yet carried out with shocking violence. His execution at Harpers Ferry sparked a chain of events that led to the Civil War. Banks talks about Kansas/Sons - went for cheap land & principle, Kansas - people went for mix of idealism & land, Kansas - John Brown reluctance normal, too old for a young man's fight, Kansas - John Brown went to rescue sons & fight slavery, Kansas - John Brown as warrior & shepherd saving son, Kansas - compared to Balkan wars, Kansas - not 2 military forces organized, small bands of men, Kansas - like Balkans, cruel, bad weather, no supply depot, Kansas/Hero - inspired men, only appeared armed to the teeth, Kansas/Wagon - PR ploy, useless military vehicle, but struck fear
Race and Ethnicity
American history, African Americans, civil rights, slavery, abolition
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Chicago: “American Experience; John Brown's Holy War; Interview with author Russell Banks, 5 of 5,” WGBH, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (WGBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed November 30, 2020,
MLA: “American Experience; John Brown's Holy War; Interview with author Russell Banks, 5 of 5.” WGBH, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (WGBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. November 30, 2020. <>.
APA: American Experience; John Brown's Holy War; Interview with author Russell Banks, 5 of 5. Boston, MA: WGBH, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (WGBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from