NPR in Kansas City
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

The Capitol Insurrection Revived The Story Of A Legendary Abolitionist

Ways To Subscribe
Walter Ingalls
United States Senate
On January 6, 2021 a pro-Trump rioter carried a Confederate flag past this portrait of U.S. Sen. Charles Sumner of Massachusetts that hangs in the Capitol building in Washington, D.C.

The namesake of Sumner Academy in Kansas City, Kansas, was almost killed on the U.S. Senate floor for his "Crime Against Kansas" speech in 1856. Now, a photo from the insurrection this month has people remembering U.S. Sen. Charles Sumner's story.

The irony of a Confederate flag being carried past one of the most ferocious abolitionists to serve in the U.S. Senate was not lost on those who recognized the subject of the portrait. Sumner served during a period of partisanship in the Congress that can be compared to the atmosphere in the nation's capital today.

Steve Kraske is the host of KCUR's Up To Date. Follow him on Twitter @stevekraske.
Mackenzie Martin makes podcasts for KCUR Studios. You can find her on Twitter @_macmartin.