John Brown Today

The Fool as Biographer: Otto Scott and "The Secret Six"

December 12, 2020 Louis DeCaro Jr. Season 1 Episode 7
John Brown Today
The Fool as Biographer: Otto Scott and "The Secret Six"
Show Notes

In this episode, Lou discusses the hostile book about John Brown by the late scholar, Otto Scott, The Secret Six: John Brown and the Abolitionist Movement.  Scott was a skillful researcher and writer who devoted his life to working for the corporate world, but contributed heavily to racist, right-wing, and white nationalist Christians. His work on Brown is a screed, a work of propaganda that is based on discredited sources and fashioned to suit the agenda of racists and neo-Confederates, but still circulates among conservatives today, especially Christian Reconstructionists and romancers of the so-called Confederate past.  Scott considered Brown a "fool" among several other historical figures he considered despicable, and blamed him as one of a number of historical figures who essentially ruined the present.  Scott's Secret Six is perhaps the worst contemporary work on John Brown and continues to contaminate the public conversation on the abolitionist movement in context.
-------
Lou would like to acknowledge the scholar Edward H. Sebesta, who provided him with copies of some of Otto Scott’s contributions to neo-Confederate publications, especially the Southern Partisan.  Sebesta’s blog is Anti-Neo-Confederate.  He is the co-editor of Neo-Confederacy: A Critical Introduction (University of Texas Press, 2008)  and  Pernicious: The Neo-Confederate Campaign against Social Justice in America (Dallas: Third American Revolution Press, 2016).