Aired: February 21, 2009

The Steel-Driving Man and the Man of Steel

The song “John Henry” is one of the most popular in American history but, for years, nobody knew whether the legendary railroad tunneler was a real person or simply a tall tale. Recently, Scott Reynolds Nelson (College of William and Mary) discovered a historic record of a railroad worker named John Henry, who was buried secretly by the Richmond Penitentiary. Also: Gary Rogers (Virginia Military Institute) and Gene Whitesell take With Good Reason reporter Jesse Dukes to an abandoned railroad tunnel in the Blue Ridge Mountains. And, Tom De Haven (Virginia Commonwealth University) is writing a fictitious biography of Superman, a character that has undergone a number of transformations since he was created in 1938.


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