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Yale University historian Jonathan Holloway discusses his 2013 work, Jim Crow Wisdom: Memory and Identity in Black America since 1940, with James Basker, President of the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History.
“Did John Brown fail? John Brown began the war that ended American slavery and made this a free Republic.” —Frederick DouglassBackground
The late 1840s and the 1850s were a turbulent and complex time in American history as the country ground inexorably toward civil war. Abolitionist and pro-slavery positions hardened both north and south of the Mason-Dixon Line as events built toward a bloody confrontation. John Brown would be a catalyst that triggered the violent reaction. As he wrote just before his execution: “I...