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John Brown Today

Louis DeCaro Jr.

John Brown Today is a podcast devoted to historical and contemporary themes relating to the abolitionist John Brown (1800-59), the controversial antislavery and antiracist freedom fighter. John Brown Today is hosted by Louis A. DeCaro Jr., a Brown biographer and researcher, the most prolific author on the John Brown theme since the abolitionist's death in 1859. John Brown Today engages a range of themes from history and biography to popular culture and other contemporary themes.

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In this episode, Lou presents a narrative written by John Brown's young lawyer, George H. Hoyt, written only a few years after the abolitionist's hanging. Hoyt went to join John Brown in Charlestown, Virginia (today West Va.) and support his lawyers, but really went as a spy for Brown's supporters in the North who wanted to launch a rescue. But not only was the rescue impossible by the time that Hoyt arrived in Virginia, but Brown did not want to escape. Hoyt thus became part of the drama of Brown's trial and last days, a story that can be found in more detail in Lou's book, Freedom's Dawn: The Last Days of John Brown in Virginia (2015).
The Hoyt narrative is provided in ten short segments that somewhat follow the serialized narrative that appeared in the Leavenworth Conservative in 1867, as well as a kind of epilogue that Hoyt published in The Kansas Weekly Tribune in 1870. The narrative, written from a firsthand eyewitness reveals a great deal about Brown's trial and the supposed "fair trial" that he received at the hands of a court dominated by slaveholders and guided by Sen. James Mason of Virginia, the architect of the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850 and one of the ringleaders of the slaveholders' betrayal that would follow in 1861 following Lincoln's election.
Guest music: "Bittersweet" by Silent Partner
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In this episode, Lou is interviewed by Dr. Chris Dost, biblical scholar and pastor of the Northville Baptist Church in New Milford, Connecticut. This audio is excerpted from an interview recorded on July 10, 2021.
Closing tune: "Amazing Grace" by Cooper Cannell
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