This year marks the 150th anniversary of abolitionist John Brown’s anti-slavery raid on Harpers Ferry, Virginia, his subsequent execution and the return of his body to North Elba, Essex County, NY.
Over at Adirondack Almanack I’ve been writing a series of posts – The Last Days of John Brown – to commemorate Brown’s struggle to end slavery in America, and both here and at the Almanack I’ll be reporting on events as the anniversary approaches. So far local activities include a lecture, a symposium, and a reenactment of the return of Brown’s body to North Elba. It all kicks off with a lecture this Saturday, October 10th, with a lecture by historian Zoe Trodd at 2:00 PM, at John Brown’s Farm.
Here is the event announcement:
A Living Legacy: John Brown in the Anti-Lynching Protest Tradition, a lecture by Zoe Trodd. Protest writers have long pointed to the abolitionist past as central to present and future social change. At the heart was of this living legacy was one figure: John Brown. This lecture will trace the presence of Brown in anti-lynching literature from the Niagara Movement to Langston Hughes. Trodd is the author of Meteor of War: The John Brown Story; American Protest Literature; and The Tribunal: Responses to John Brown and the Harper’s Ferry Raid. This event is presented by John Brown Lives!
Yale University’s Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition will host John Brown, Slavery, and the Legacies of Revolutionary Violence in Our Own Time: A Conference Commemorating the 150th Anniversary of the Harpers Ferry Raid on Oct 29-31, 2009 at the university’s campus in New Haven, CT.
Discussions of the place of violence-its forms, its causes, its justice or injustice-in American history often begin with John Brown and his exploits in Kansas and at Harpers Ferry, Virginia, in the 1850s. Brown’s image has been appropriated by groups from the left and the right. He is a historical as well as a legendary figure, and often the myth overshadows the reality. This conference will explore the meaning and memory of John Brown as well as the problem of violence in American culture, past and present.
The conference will open on the evening of Thursday, October 29 with a performance of John Brown: Trumpet of Freedom by actor and playwright Norman Marshall. On Friday, October 30 and Saturday, October 31, conference panels will focus on four major themes:
. John Brown: A Problem in Biography
. John Brown and the Arts
. John Brown and the Legacies of Violence
. John Brown and Abolitionism
. Concluding Roundtable: A Problem for Our Own Time
For information on the conference visit: http://www.yale.edu/glc/john-brown/index.htm
American Heritage has an interesting article on John Brown associate John Doy of Rochester. Here’s an excerpt:
John Doy, a physician from Rochester, New York, heeded the call from abolitionist societies and moved to Kansas in July 1854. A full-bearded and serious-looking man, Doy helped found the town of Lawrence and built a house on its outskirts, where his wife and nine children joined him. As a bastion of free-soil sympathies, Lawrence became a target of pro-slavers, who sacked it on May 21, 1856. In retaliation, the abolitionist firebrand John Brown and his men murdered five slave owners near Pottawatomie Creek. Three months later Doy fought alongside Brown in a pitched battle at Osawatomie, 60 miles southeast of Lawrence.
Kansas became increasingly dangerous for African Americans, so on January 18, 1859, a group of Lawrence’s citizens raised money to help blacks move to safety. Brown offered to take one group north to Canada and did so without incident. Doy also volunteered to help by taking another group about 60 miles northwest to the town of Holton, the first step on the road to Iowa. His passage proved less fortunate.
Among the African Americans on Doy’s expedition were Wilson Hayes and Charles Smith, cooks at a Lawrence hotel. Doy knew that both of them were free men, although they had no papers. All the others had their “free papers,” including William Riley, who had been kidnapped once before from Lawrence but had managed to escape.
The piece offers an interesting look at one of teh many upstate New Yorkers who traveled west during the Kansas-Missouri Border War.
John Brown Remembered: 150th Anniversary of John Brown’s Raid is the title of a conference / symposium that will be held October 14 -17, 2009 at the Harpers Ferry National Historical Park in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia. Speakers will include David Blight, Spencer Crew, and Paul Finkelman.
Harpers Ferry National Historical Park, along with other partners, is hosting this multidisciplinary academic symposium on John Brown and his 1859 raid on Harpers Ferry. The symposium, which will be held at the Stephen T. Mather Training Center in Harpers Ferry, is hoped to stimulate new and diverse academic research, scholarship, and debate.
A schedule and registration details can be found here.