Journalist and author Eugene L. Meyer joins us to talk about his book, Five for Freedom: The African American Soldiers in John Brown's Army. On October 16, 1859, John Brown and his band of eighteen raiders descended on Harpers Ferry. In an ill-fated attempt to incite a slave insurrection, they seized the federal arsenal, took hostages, and retreated to a fire engine house where they barricaded themselves until a contingent of US Marines battered their way in on October 18. The raiders were routed, and several were captured. Soon after, they were tried, convicted, and hanged. Among Brown’s fighters were five African American men—John Copeland, Shields Green, Dangerfield Newby, Lewis Leary, and Osborne Perry Anderson—whose lives and deaths have long been overshadowed by their martyred leader and who, even today, are little remembered. Only Anderson survived, later publishing the lone insider account of the event that, most historians agree, was a catalyst to the catastrophic American Civil War that followed.
Q&A to follow author's presentation.
Eugene L. Meyer is an award-winning veteran journalist with eclectic interests but special passions for history, lifestyles, travel, real estate and the Chesapeake Bay. He has been widely published in magazines, authored three books and was for many years a reporter and editor at the Washington Post. Since leaving the Post in 2004, Meyer has garnered 15 awards for his work, and has had more than 50 bylines in The New York Times. His first journalism job was as Washington bureau librarian for the old New York Herald Tribune, where he got to tag along with a White House reporter and watch the 1964 Civil Rights Act being signed into law.