John Brown: Abolitionist
Production for the Meet the Past television series concludes in September with a final program taped before a live audience at the Central Library, 14 W. 10th St. The series will air in prime-time on KCPT (channel 19) during the 2009-10 season.
Meet the Past features Library Director Crosby Kemper III interviewing prominent historical figures (as portrayed by actors and veteran Chautauqua performers) with Kansas City-area connections.
Major funding for Meet the Past has been provided by a grant from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.
Admission to the Meet the Past program is free. A 6 p.m. reception precedes the event. Click here or call 816.701.3407 to RSVP. Free parking is available in the Library District Parking Garage at 10th and Baltimore.
On Tuesday, September 1, at 6:30 p.m., Kerry Altenbernd portrays John Brown, the famous (and infamous) abolitionist.
John Brown rose to fame during the Bleeding Kansas years in the mid- to late-1850s. He is perhaps best remembered for his unsuccessful raid on the federal arsenal in Harpers Ferry (then in Virginia, now present-day West Virginia) in October 1859.
Brown was considered by many to be a hero and by just as many to be a terrorist. Abraham Lincoln called him a “misguided fanatic.” Jefferson Davis said he was a “blood-thirsty murderer.” Intellectuals such as Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau likened him to a 19th century “Christ.”
Altenbernd is director of the Douglas County Law Library and a board member of the Black Jack Battlefield Trust near Lawrence. He has portrayed John Brown on numerous occasions for many years.