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John Brown, Slavery, and the Legacies of Revolutionary Violence in Our Own Time:
A Conference Commemorating the 150th Anniversary of the Harpers Ferry Raid

Gilder Lehrman Center's 11th Annual International Conference
Oct 29-31, 2009
Yale University
New Haven, Connecticut

Thursday, October 29, William L. Harkness Hall, Room 201 (Sudler Hall), 100 Wall Street
Friday and Saturday, October 30-31, Luce Hall Auditorium, 34 Hillhouse Avenue

Discussions of the place of violence--its forms, its causes, its justice or injustice--in American history often begin with John Brown and his exploits in Kansas and at Harpers Ferry, Virginia, in the 1850s. Brown's image has been appropriated by groups from the left and the right. He is a historical as well as a legendary figure, and often the myth overshadows the reality. This conference will explore the meaning and memory of John Brown as well as the problem of violence in American culture, past and present.


Conference Participants

Click titles below for conference abstracts

Thursday, October 29

7:30 9:00 p.m.        Performance
  • Performance of John Brown: Trumpet of Freedom by George Wolf Reily and Norman Thomas Marshall
    Norman Thomas Marshall (Actor/Playwright)
    Introduction by Larry Lawrence, The John Brown Society

Friday, October 30

8:30 - 9:00 a.m.        Coffee and Registration

9:00 - 9:15 a.m.        Welcome Remarks

9:15 - 10:30 a.m.        Keynote Address

10:30 - 11:00 a.m.        Coffee Break

11:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.        Panel 1: John Brown: A Problem in Biography

1:00 - 2:30 p.m.        Lunch

2:30 - 5:00 p.m.        Panel 2: John Brown and the Arts


9:00 - 9:30 a.m.        Coffee and Registration

9:30 - 11:30 a.m.        Panel 3: John Brown and the Legacies of Violence

11:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.        Lunch

1:00 - 3:00 p.m.        Panel 4: John Brown and Abolitionism

3:00 - 3:15 p.m.        Coffee break

3:15 - 4:30 p.m.        Concluding Roundtable: John Brown: A Problem for Our Own Time