• Sun beginning to set at Harpers Ferry, as seen from Maryland Heights. Photo by NPS Volunteer Buddy Secor.

    Harpers Ferry

    National Historical Park WV,VA,MD

There are park alerts in effect.
show Alerts »
  • Temporary Suspension of Reference Collection Research

    Due to the park archives and research room/library space move, new public research requests will not be filled until at least June 30th, 2014.

  • Change in Park Hours

    The park is currently open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. with the last shuttle bus departing Lower Town at 6:45 p.m. More »

Dr Stephen B Oates on John Brown

The audio and video clips below comprise an interview with Dr. Stephen B. Oates conducted at Harpers Ferry National Historical Park on June 30, 1994, on the occasion of the park's 50th Anniversary.

Stephen B. Oates is the author of 16 books, including To Purge This Land With Blood; Our Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln, John Brown and the Civil War Era; The Approaching Fury; With Malice Toward None: A Life of Abraham Lincoln and Let the Trumpet Sound: A Life of Martin Luther King, Jr., the latter two books winning, respectively, the Christopher Award and the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Book Award.

Oates is a recipient of the Nevins-Freeman Award of the Chicago Civil War Round Table for lifetime achievement in the field of Civil War studies. A teacher at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, he is now writing the concluding book of the Voices of Storm trilogy, about the years of Reconstruction, 1865-1877.


These media clips require RealPlayer. Video files are furnished for three typical types of connections: 28.8 bps (smaller files for slower dial-up connections); 56.6 bps (larger files for faster dial-up connections); and T1-LAN (large files for high speed network connections). Audio-only files and text transcripts are also furnished.

Question 1: What impact did John Brown have upon the nation with regard to the slavery issue?
RealAudio: 28.8 | RealVideo: 28.8 | 56.6 | T1-LAN (length: 2:04) | Text transcript

Question 2: Why did John Brown choose violence?
RealAudio: 28.8 | RealVideo: 28.8 | 56.6 | T1-LAN (length: 2:11) | Text transcript

Question 3: Would you please comment on John Brown's relationship with his God and his belief in the Bible.
RealAudio: 28.8 | RealVideo: 28.8 | 56.6 | T1-LAN (length: 2:23) |Text transcript

Question 4: Would you rate John Brown in American history as a failure, a success, or an enigma?
RealAudio: 28.8 | RealVideo: 28.8 | 56.6 | T1-LAN (length: 1:36) | Text transcript

Question 5: Why do you feel that John Brown still lives in America's consciousness after 135 years?
RealAudio: 28.8 | RealVideo: 28.8 | 56.6 | T1-LAN (length: 2:14) |Text transcript


John Brown related Websites:
The American Experience: John Brown's Holy War
Excellent overview based on the PBS film
John Brown and the Valley of the Shadow
Detailed account of John Brown's raid on Harper's Ferry
John Brown/Boyd B. Stutler Collection
West Virginia State Archives database of John Brown related images and documents

Did You Know?

Photo of the National League of Colored Women at the John Brown Fort.

On July 14, 1896, during their first National Convention, the National League of Colored Women visited the John Brown Fort. They were the first group known to make such a pilgrimage to this site.