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Thu, Sep 24, 2020 6:51 PM

What to Know Before Watching “The Good Lord Bird”: A Primer on Black Abolitionists in America


October 4th marks the premiere date of “The Good Lord Bird,” Showtime’s limited series about white abolitionist John Brown. Brown went down in history as the leader of the 1859 raid on Harpers Ferry, a three-day standoff in Virginia between Brown’s small company and the U.S. Marines, which he hoped would be the spark that set off a slave rebellion in the Southern states.


The uprising failed, and Brown was tried and hanged for treason shortly thereafter. But his dying statement — “I, John Brown, am now quite certain that the crimes of this guilty land will never be purged away but with blood” — proved to be oracular; the Civil War began a year and a half later in 1861...

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