The Battle of Black Jack

John Brown
John Brown

Photograph by John Lamberton. Courtesy of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, Missouri. Gift of the Hall Family Foundation, 2008.6.4

Exhibit from the Black Jack Battlefield Trust.

April 1-29, 2011
9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

The battle of Black Jack is considered by many to have been the first fight of the Civil War. Most certainly, it contributed to the name of "Bleeding Kansas." On June 2, 1856, the abolitionist John Brown led his free-state militia, with co-commander Samuel Shore, in attacking the camp of a pro-slavery force led by Henry Clay Pate. This clash was the first pitched battle between pro-slavery and anti-slavery groups. Pate, thinking he was outnumbered and possibly surrounded, eventually surrendered to Brown.

The exhibit opens with an exploration into the lives of John Brown and Henry Clay Pate as well as the men who fought beside them. It explores the territory surrounding the battlefield and its use as part of the Santa Fe Trail and the return of one of the battle's veterans, Robert Hail Pearson, to farm the area.

For more information, call Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site at (785) 354-4273 or email by clicking here. Free and open to the public, daily from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site, 1515 SE Monroe Street, Topeka, Kansas 66612.

Last updated: April 10, 2015

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