Past Pennsylvania legislator in the spotlight Friday at Otto’s

“Life of Thad Stevens, What Part of ‘All Men Are Created Equal Do You Not Understand?'” is a new book written by Kathy Brabson. Brabson is a retired teacher and principal of Penn Manor School in Millersville. She now lives in Lancaster and will be coming to Otto’s for the First Friday celebration of the arts this week.

When asked why she wrote about Stevens, she said she felt there wasn’t enough written about him and just about nothing for the young reader. She finds him especially relevant to today’s youth because he suffered rejection and bullying as a child due to his club foot and he rose above his classmates’ taunts to run for public office and to have a significant impact on the course of the nation’s government before and after the Civil War.

Stevens had a role in the Underground Railroad, using his contacts in Gettysburg, where he had a law office and in Lancaster where he later lived. But he felt he had to do more. So he ran for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives several times and several times he won. He was a powerful orator who hammered home his belief that no state was allowed to secede from the union and no person should ever be enslaved. He was a prime mover in passing the 13th and 14th amendments to the Constitution. He was born in 1849 and died in 1868, serving in the Legislature almost to the day he died.

In addition to addressing the issue of bullying in the first part of her book, Brabson used a short chapter/single topic format to make her book more accessible for the young readers. “History is important” she says, so that we don’t make the same mistakes twice.” And Stevens’ life shows us that we can all overcome rough beginnings.

Kathy Brabson will sign her books from 5 to 8 Friday at Ottos. Two other authors will also be signing – Carolyn Turgeon will sign her adult fantasy, “Fairest of Them All” and Denise Kaminski will sign her Nittany Lion picture books for children.