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<unk> ers he says the name is libyans living in many ways libya more poverty than there are tunnels life that well nothing close as well to ensure the poker for children that's just their
own money i know i don't really know to say on that score yeah i mean you do it you have no money you lose four children in the space for a week or two to to dysentery and what it is that i don't really and i have nothing to say on that score out and there you're asking for me to articulate woman person feels like prison under despair and living in poverty and mental morgan i don't know what i can say about this well
he was suicidal or if it was a hard life i don't think it's anything more or less at that and say this is a living a life in the midst of such awards we have on the records many letters that that indicate an attitude of this is nothing more or less than one i expect what i deserve and that seemed to be his attitude is suffering and the name of the lord and as a calvinist i must be suffering because i'm sara and that's winning visited with these hardships and that was lord pour it on whatever you have in store
for me i will oblige you of course interceptors i deserve no less so it needs a combination of rubbing or is all aimed i think to this despair and at the same time the disparity but despair it's bleak also reveling in despair but it comes awfully close when i can get from reading the letters are looking for strength as he might in scripture panic stricken prayer
but in a sense as much as one can become accustomed to through the awfulness of them in one's life he seems to have the gun that they're demanding it wasn't reaching for the reservoir at home they may even have been a source of some inspiration to allow certainly was a source of the later became a source of some personal liberation time coming out of the depths of despair
grossed umbrella kansas earlier harpers ferry home to one of the kids said you know there is as you say he's been living in his parent's well meg and i i don't know it was a weather i mean you're the only talking about it was hardly paradise like mountains of their source of strength for him emotionally psychologically it was hardly her about a minute was more poverty was a harsh harsh existence how they
get it the heat he attempted to to colonize innocence a number of negro families in that area home a safe haven for some fugitive slaves in another black families like colony which he's going to be there a father figure and he's among form a separate never really worked out it was a hard existence but hand to mouth as always was with john brecher yes there he was why did he go to kansas he got a letter he got a letter from his his son sort of their harlem who are going out there upon some months previous and they wrote him father
we need weapons kansas is in the increasingly the state of insurrection and anarchy all these various factions there were out there pro slavery people slave owners and he slipped people abolitionists radical abolitionist friess oyler's home all the weather and political agendas all of whom were in the process of arming themselves and it sounds i were out there attempting to work to settle they were home and those in the middle of this well as a cylindrical civil war berlin
and they were unarmed and there are defenseless they wrote to jump around and said father please gather up arms gather weapons when they need them to hear more then we need bread right now and then and please come out and an n n and help us he's heading north on the fitted but then hundreds of hundreds of thousands of dollars and that instead of some sort of emotional prowess is ability and seizes this as an opportunity finally to make good on a vowel that he'd made almost twenty years before nineteen thirty seven new plays his life the destruction of slavery on them at that
point nothing left to lose an arm it was an utter failure it was despairing he was in debt he was grounded down got a tourism opportunity finally it wants to do something he had mistaken not doing it and the states are not doing that i was free to do that and to his credit respond to this letter to gather up those weapons ended lopez was time to liberate slaves yes ms moore so i think three klan himself business laid a misspent life up to that point out very good on his pledge stealing park awaiting marinate for twenty years but there
was the opportunity and was a right on right on home i was probably now or never goes out that sort of thing and and and he runs himself i mean as the sunset you know the father rouse yourself and come to our aid he did so you know this is julia i think the first and understand about potter one day as a social proof the shrine about its job or until a body how long that he orchestrated in the killing of others is
something that he was glad to own up to but he accepted responsibility for the deaths of our murders a ruin the diapers than that except that responsibility personal responsibility he took credit but there's not a shred of proof on the record that he took a broadsword and hacked off any bodies head and all of his sons did in fact we know that john brown may or may not have the documents are clear when he left the north to go to kansas and kill people i don't know if he intended to kill people
when he left he certainly public was willing to or certainly once he figured out the label land now was anxious to hand style of those killings as their executions first of all the victims were not slave owners who were cloaked pro slanted prose slave sympathies but not none of them oh and that was on purpose those killings took place middle of the night and dark that was on purpose those killings were performed with broadswords that was on purpose is it writings and some of his letters he uses the word terror in the the word shock that he intended to produce both of those and be calm
it's the day that they were terrible and they were shouting and they did have a fact i am ready to change the course of events and kansas can see this event china is the one that so many people have difficulty dealing with time because here we are we're the year this dichotomy this disconnect between tactics and in the desired and no one has attempted to achieve an end this was a problem where there's no doubt about it and if
you didn't kill anybody certainly was the strategist it he's responsible mix ups personal responsibility and it's hard to reconcile and he didn't like that he lies about us involvement at what point do remember that he really tries to distance is applauding back to these factors we only tells us is if you see the daily yeah i mean i i don't recall exactly but i know he was not eager to work wasn't bragging about what he did wrong i think he understood very well that was very difficult to explain i am what's going on out there that this was a massive anarchy that this
was that this territory was in a state of utter insurrection civil war and that and that it's very difficult i think to come back to work some parlor in boston and try to explain why one would go out and decapitate five innocent people move a life and make it sound palatable an ad for global whatsoever any federal marshals on its tail to the mindy going to visit one of the places on the street right it is this is renee
here yeah garrett boy kansas was not only kansas no there isn't and fight fire with fire in and go them one better on top of that home is he you know he went out there and in his stated aim was to my home a he wanted that the conflict or conflagration to speller he was reluctant to make kansas the platform
which would need from which a wider war but before he was for years ahead of himself here but he thought that there would be a way to two to make the violence proliferate and i would spill over the borders and it would become like a prairie fire until the whole country was engulfed he was looking to make kansas an iphone the year a jumping off point for a wider which water conflict they didn't do it especially for a lot of political reasons and it fizzled out that went nowhere that was self contained
much to his chagrin and when that didn't appear to jump around the time to turn the left on it served its purpose and he had no place there anymore and he year it into cans of fighting the rest of the nation a different place in that that that was harpers ferry but it it you know i i i can't because among the story like i can't i can't give each other listeners with cancer there
is this debate or not john browne have a death wish or a christ complex or chose to go to harpers ferry knowing that he was never going to come out of harpers ferry a lot of the reason he intended to martyr himself i am i don't buy it that is perfectly capable of martyr himself yes that he intended to martyr himself america's very know it was not until the game was further along than he was trapped at which point where the genius was that he was able to to use as the van tournaments had visa to his own ends which in fact he did but
no i think he went south after the very reasons that he said he went south which was that he was going to gather this quasi military company this does let this militia young man and that he intended to go down there to engage in some sort of corral activity up and down the show and go and to liberate slaves are often plantations and around the north end that never happened because it he was trapped in harpers ferry and you can question his wisdom as a military commander and you could question his tactics and they'll look like a bank some set of suicide mission to us
now but no i don't think that john brown had a death wish i think he was probably not very talented weekend to a military tactics are and he had hundreds of trapped there at that point at some point when there was no way to get out of there that he decided you know occurred i cry can use this as a piece of a fitter on having a growing job that the last summer months was life books i don't see the evidence for it i don't see any evidence for it there's nothing in on the record that would
indicate that that's really watch it wanted a dog it's been the pillar this is why it has become so the scene in crimea and asked his office and the current grounds to dealing with these people i'm just interested by everyone he played this role of women's sports it's so interesting do you remember
he wanted his office what that all what the whole world is watching and that says he's achieved what he finally he just there should be any guess after after the race come a cropper as it were in and he's laid out on a stretcher in a and it was awfully similar to finally have that moment he has achieved in a sense i always wanted his whole life the whole world is watching how the media has descended the politicians are there any has the ear will of the nation at that point
and proceeds to two who exactly tell truth proceeds to work the symbol to an extent on and contradict himself to an extent on refuses to answer certain questions rain shadow is secretive as it always was the peak they respond to certain questions is served so it was a revolutionary
it's at that moment that he predicts civil war with the first time publicly been protecting civil war i've quit prophetic for years before the book festival awarded the sofa for some public right along he knows he's at that moment his emotions when they know the end of the rope caught in the pan impressed as were spent years at that point sheer curtains for every old fashioned word the far larger than he was in life
at he has indeed become an icon a symbol of an emblem us to the point where the human being become secondary harper afterthought it became a repository for all those values and biases and prejudices and that we project upon him harm separate from that i find least interested in mls one has to deal with that eye they originally how was attempting to do quite the opposite a restaurant and like i'm a human being again
really resonates for its you know tom is on the right side of history and the tactics that he used less willingness to kill hot button and ward and to commit righteous violence in order to achieve a greater good tom this is something we see around us today i mean i'm all over the place on in a weathered so clumsily europe's ports david koresh sure it's the far right wing of the anti abortion rights movement on it does remain relevant and it does resonate for us still arm
and in his colorblindness haram is a more and so slavery on in his being such a non racist he's very contemporary an insanely john breaux was a product of his at times but he was against his time at the same time and ahead of his time at the same time and transcended his time and so it is it does remain a figure seemed to speak to us are
still along because it embodies
American Experience
John Brown's Holy War
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Interview with author Bruce Olds, 3 of 3
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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. Olds talks about Loss - resigned to despair, despair became his liberation, North Elba/Kansas - letter from sons, chance to make good, Pottawatomie - terror, shock, purposeful, Pottawatomie - lying about it in Boston, Pottawatomie - make Kansas platform for wider war, Martyr/Plan - no death wish, big plan, bad tactics, Paymaster's Office - seizes moment, courage, brave words
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 Bruce Olds, 3 of 3,” WGBH, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed June 21, 2024,
MLA: “American Experience; John Brown's Holy War; Interview with author Bruce Olds, 3 of 3.” WGBH, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. June 21, 2024. <>.
APA: American Experience; John Brown's Holy War; Interview with author Bruce Olds, 3 of 3. Boston, MA: WGBH, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from