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Russell Banks, historian on
John Brown's legacy

Russell Banks BANKS: I think he's so important today for a gathering of reasons. Certainly because he is so revealing to any one of us willing to look at our ongoing racial divide, [and] the opposing ways in which he is regarded by white and American and Black Americans. But, he also, in his life, raises very basic and ongoing questions about political violence which we live with, deal with and puzzle over and are tormented by today -- violence in the service of an ideal, of a principled cause. This is a part of our lives today in so many ways. Whether it's an abortion clinic in upstate New York or a federal building in Oklahoma City, it's something that we deal with, we have to face and encounter and not try to understand and contextualize it somehow.

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