One hundred and fifty years ago, John Brown’s Raid on Harpers Ferry failed utterly. But the violent event and the executions it prompted shocked the nation. They reinforced white southern fears about slave insurrection, emboldened secessionists, and made Brown a martyr in the eyes of many northerners. Ever since, Brown has been a symbol of contrast and controversy.
At the time of this lecture, Dr. Rasmussen was the Lora M. Robins Curator at the museum and curator of the exhibition that marks these tumultuous events leading up to the Civil War.