Monday, September 27, 2010

John Brown: Martyr or Madman?

The Center for the Study of the Civil War Era and American Studies Program at Kennesaw State University in suburban Atlanta has a program on fiery abolitionist John Brown next month.

The program, "Martyr or Madman?", is from 7 p.m.-8:30 p.m. Oct. 11 at Auditorum/Room 1021 (Building 22) on the campus. Parking is free at the KSU Welcome Center.

"John Brown’s role and actions prior to the Civil War as an abolitionist, and the tactics he chose, still make him a controversial figure today," the center says. "Sometimes he is memorialized as a madman and a terrorist and sometimes as a heroic martyr and a visionary."

Dr. Rebecca Hill will present “Radical Politics of John Brown.”

Dr. Brian Wills, also of KSU, will present “Madman of the Movies.”

Brown advocated and practiced armed insurrection as a means to end all slavery. He was executed after the unsuccessful raid at Harpers Ferry, W. Va., in 1859. President Abraham Lincoln said he was a "misguided fanatic."

"Movies have tendencies to simplify characters and compress stories with portrayals often meant to conform to the expectations of audiences, with the intent of getting them into the theater seats or before their television screens," Wills, director of the center, told the Picket.

"The John Brown of film/television is a mixture of the metaphors that fit the notions of viewers whose knowledge of the historical figure tends otherwise to be limited. Brown must be seen in a certain light and in specified settings to be believed. The Old Testament temper, flowing beard and vehement expressions (verbal and visual), provide the appropriate context for the zealot of Bleeding Kansas and Harpers Ferry."

For more information, call (678) 797-2551.

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