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Harper’s Ferry Five Talk

February 24, 2017 @ 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Peter H. Wood, emeritus professor of History at Duke University and respected researcher on Southern and African American history in the enslavement era, suggests we need to look more closely at what John Brown had in mind in his attack on Harper’s Ferry, and also look beyond Brown to understand his network of committed supporters. Five of his followers were African Americans, and their Southern roots and varied life stories put Brown and his raiders in a different light.

Introduction by Dr. Reginald Hildebrand, instructor of History at Durham Technical Community College, and author of “The Times Were Strange and Stirring: Methodist Preachers and the Crisis of Emancipation”

“As a longtime resident of North Carolina,” Wood says, “I was surprised to learn five years ago the strange ways in which Raleigh, Fayetteville, and Hillsborough are all tied to John Brown’s Raid. I was also struck by how much exciting rethinking has been going on recently, as we look back at Civil War events from the twenty-first century. Brown, it turns out, knew a good deal more about the southern mountains than most of his contemporaries, or most modern historians. An overlooked document in the Boston Public Library convinced me that we need to think in new ways about Brown himself and about the five determined African Americans who accompanied him.”

Professor Wood is the author of Black Majority; Strange New Land: Africans in Colonial America; and Near Andersonville: Winslow Homer’s Civil War. He is the co-author of a widely used U.S. History survey text entitled Created Equal. In 2011, Professor Wood received the Asher Distinguished Teaching Award of American Historical Association. He now lives in Longmont, Colorado, with his wife, the Pulitzer-Prize winning historian Elizabeth Fenn.