Au­thor to ex­plore slav­ery, free­dom at Pam­plin Park

The Progress-Index - - LOCAL -

DIN­WID­DIE — On Sun­day, Novem­ber 17 at 1 p.m., Pam­plin His­tor­i­cal Park & The Na­tional Mu­seum of the Civil War Sol­dier will host an event ti­tled Slav­ery & Free­dom: Lec­tures & Book Sign­ing.

“Who freed the slaves?” Since the end of the Civil War this com­plex ques­tion is one that many peo­ple have sought to an­swer defini­tively. Of­ten due to the many dif­fer­ent ways that Amer­i­cans re­mem­ber the process of eman­ci­pa­tion, its an­swer re­mains elu­sive. How­ever, think­ing about this sig­nif­i­cant ques­tion opens op­por­tu­ni­ties for learn­ing about dif­fer­ent his­tor­i­cal per­spec­tives. Tim Tal­bott, Di­rec­tor of Ed­u­ca­tion for the Pam­plin His­tor­i­cal Park will pon­der this ques­tion and ex­plore the pos­si­ble an­swers at 1 p.m.

A sec­ond speaker, Eu­gene Meyer will speak at 2 p.m. about his re­cently pub­lished book Five for Free­dom: The African Amer­i­can Sol­diers in John Brown’s Army. Late on the evening of Oc­to­ber 16, 1859, John Brown and his band of 18 raiders de­scended on Harpers Ferry at the con­flu­ence of the Po­tomac and Shenan­doah Rivers.

In an ill-fated at­tempt to in­cite a slave in­sur­rec­tion, they seized the fed­eral arse­nal, took hostages and re­treated to a fire en­gine house where they bar­ri­caded them­selves un­til a con­tin­gent of US Marines bat­tered their way in on Oc­to­ber 18.

The raiders were routed, and sev­eral were cap­tured. Soon af­ter, they were tried, con­victed and hanged. Among Brown’s raiders were five African Amer­i­cans whose lives and deaths have long been over­shad­owed by their mar­tyred leader and, even to­day, are lit­tle re­mem­bered. Two—John Copeland and Shields Green—were ex­e­cuted.

Two oth­ers—Danger­field Newby and Lewis Leary— died at the scene. Newby, the first to go, was shot in the neck, then dis­mem­bered by towns­peo­ple and left for the hogs. He was try­ing to lib­er­ate his en­slaved wife and chil­dren.

Of the five, only Os­borne Perry An­der­son es­caped and lived to pub­lish the lone in­sider ac­count of the event that, most his­to­ri­ans agree, was a cat­a­lyst to the cat­a­strophic Civil War that fol­lowed over the coun­try’s orig­i­nal sin of slav­ery.

Five for Free­dom is the story of these five brave men, the cir­cum­stances in which they were born and how they came to­gether at this time and place, grew to manhood and died.

Their lives and deaths af­fected fu­ture gen­er­a­tions, not just of their de­scen­dants, but of us all. It is a story that con­tin­ues to res­onate in the present.

The event will be in­cluded with reg­u­lar park ad­mis­sion or park mem­ber­ship, and a limited quan­tity of books will be avail­able for pur­chase and sign­ing.

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