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Both sides, Ken Burns documentary edition


On the one hand, a Democrat senator who claims to be in favor of racial justice turns out to have a great-great-grandfather who unknowingly harbored John Wilkes Booth:

Michigan Democratic Sen. Gary Peters has been promoting his racial sensitivity by hosting justice-reform panels and sponsoring a bill to raise awareness of African-American history. One thing he doesn’t mention: his great-great-grandfather harbored John Wilkes Booth after President Lincoln’s assassination.

The infamous fugitive found safe haven in the home of Richard Garrett, according to a story that Peters’ late father Herb Peters, an English teacher and news reporter, shared with local history buffs in Rochester, Michigan.

As the elder Peters told it, five riders in Confederate uniforms approached Garrett’s farmhouse near Port Royal, Va., on April 24, 1865, nine days after Lincoln’s death. But news traveled slowly in those days and Garrett still had not heard of the attack on Lincoln as the president sat with his wife in a balcony of the Ford Theater.

One of the horsemen asked if Booth — traveling under the name of James W. Boyd — could hole up on the property.

“None of the Garretts knew that Booth and co-conspirator David Herold escaped from Washington by horseback into Maryland and were the objects of a massive federal manhunt,” Herb Peters told the Rochester-Avon Historical Society during the 2011 talk.

For two days the wanted assassin lived “completely at ease” with the family, sharing meals and playing with Garrett’s children, until the feds found him. Booth was killed in the Garrett’s tobacco barn — which was also torched — on April 26.

(Note also too how this expose is based is a nine-year-old item from a local interest story in a small town newspaper).

On the other hand, the current president of the United States is a fascist.

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