The Portent: John Brown’s Raid in American Memory
On display at the Virginia Historical Society, Richmond, VA
October 10, 2009 – April 11, 2010

As a major part of the national acknowledgment of the 150th anniversary of John Brown’s raid on the Federal Armory at Harpers Ferry, Virginia, the Virginia Historical Society (VHS) presents The Portent: John Brown’s Raid in American Memory.  This exhibition serves as the first-ever critical analysis by a Southern institution of an episode that, on the eve of the Civil War broke open sectionalize fissures. Brown demanded that his contemporaries take a moral stance on slavery.  To this day, a mention of his attack spurs debate about issues of justice, terrorism, liberation, and vigilantism.

The Portent — which will include the largest number of commemorative ceramic objects relating to John Brown ever displayed — is broken down into eight sections: Prelude in Kansas, Raid, Capture, Incarceration, Execution, Reaction, Martyrdom, and Memory.  The Portent opens at the Virginia Historical Society on October 10, 2009, six days before the anniversary, will extend through Black History Month and closes on April 11, 2010.  An exhibition catalog and online exhibition will accompany the show.

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