The Portent: John Brown's Raid in American Memory By William M. S. Rasmussen

Time Period
1825 to 1860
1861 to 1876
Media Type
Black History
Civil War
William M.S. Rasmussen

On October 15, 2009, William M. S. Rasmussen delivered a lecture in conjunction with the exhibition, The Portent: John Brown’s Raid in American Memory.

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.

The content and opinions expressed in these presentations are solely those of the speaker and not necessarily of the Virginia Museum of History & Culture.