For the last of five talks as part of the 17th annual Bleeding Kansas Lectures Series, author and historian Robert C. Jones discussed a whole host of well-known characters pivotal to the Kansas role in the Civil War and the nation's slavery fight.
But none of the cast — around these parts anyway — holds historical court like John Brown with his involvement in Lawrence and the surrounding areas in the late 1850s.
Bleeding Kansas Lecture Series
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Jones, in his talk and in his book, "Bleeding Kansas and the Real Start of the Civil War," highlighted Brown's abolitionist efforts in Kansas and the country.
While not an apologist for Brown's actions during Pottawatomie Massacre, in which five pro-slavery settlers were murdered by Brown and several others, Jones was quick to point out that it wasn't a senseless deed.
After "border ruffians" sacked Lawrence on May 21, 1856, Brown's raid in Pottawatomie several days later was retaliation against the Lawrence action in which he specifically targeted pro-slavery settlers who had been intimidating abolitionists.
His methods, abhorred by many, in the end played a pivotal role in shaping Kansas history and ending slavery.
"Whether you liked him or not, his vision came to pass," Jones said.