For ‘native son,’ Brandon downplays slave-owning senator, ballyhoos inventor of electric motor – VPR

Never heard of Thomas Davenport? The Town of Brandon thinks that should change. And some there would just as soon forget Stephen Douglas, the slave-owning senator who debated Abraham Lincoln.

"First of all, what's so bad about Stephen Douglas? "Douglas was a slaveholder," Thornton said. "He had a plantation in Mississippi that he kept in his wife's name for political reasons. Then he later transferred it to his son's name so he could have a step back from it. He defended slavery, he race-baited. If you read the Lincoln-Douglas debates, it's absolutely clear he's appealing to racist voters in Illinois. So it's incongruous for us to try to celebrate him as a great man."Thornton said that Davenport, on the other hand, was a humble local blacksmith who created one of the most important inventions of all time.


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