John Brown Today

Mary Ellen Pleasant and "The Rule of Credible Evidence"

October 17, 2021 Louis DeCaro Jr. Season 3 Episode 4
John Brown Today
Mary Ellen Pleasant and "The Rule of Credible Evidence"
Show Notes

In this episode, Lou discusses the story of Mary Ellen Pleasant, an African American woman who has been lauded for her civil rights activities in 19th century San Francisco, but--more important to this podcast--claimed to have been a confidant and supporter of John Brown. Along the way, Lou shares a number of examples of stories and reports that connected claimants to the John Brown story, some of them obviously false, others arguably true, and some in-between, with a mix of the credible and interesting with fabrications and farce.  This is especially the case with Mary Ellen Pleasant whose claims, made before she died in 1904, to having aided and supported John Brown, particularly with a gift of $30,000, have been renewed in the press in recent years, winning Pleasant a place in Black History as an ally of John Brown.  Unfortunately, whatever her legacy entailed, her place in the John Brown story is quite questionable, and in "Mary Ellen Pleasant and 'The Rule of Credible Evidence,'" Lou will explain why.

PS Happy 162nd  Harper's Ferry Raid Anniversary, Browniacs!