UPDATED: The John Brown Freedom Trail

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Join WDMHS Executive Director Gale Brubaker for insights into the Underground Railroad in Iowa, focusing on the John Brown Freedom Trail.

The Freedom Trail is the path taken by abolitionist John Brown on his last trip across Iowa. Brown, who made several trips across Iowa to aid formerly enslaved people on their journey to freedom, was a radical abolitionist who led attacks against pro-slavery residents during the Bleeding Kansas conflicts. Many extremists began to follow Brown in his quest to incite a rebellion among the slaves. John Brown's final trip across Iowa began on February 4, 1859 and the same year on October 16 he led the unsuccessful attack on the federal arsenal at Harper's Ferry, Virginia. He was tried, convicted of treason and was hanged on December 2, 1859.

This joint library-Historical Society event is free and open to the public thanks to the support of West Des Moines Historical Society Members, EMC Insurance Foundation, the West Des Moines Library Friends Foundation and the Iowa Arts Council. New this year- all Iowa Files programs will be live streamed on the West Des Moines Historical Society’s YouTube channel and all videos will be closed captioned.