A John Brown Pike on Auction
Historical Auctions (Dallas, Tex.), on 12 Dec. 2014, Civil War & Militaria Signature Auction #6131, Lot 47690
"Were I asked to say, in the fewest and plainest words, what Brown was, my answer would be that he was a religious man. He had ever a deep sense of the claims of God and man upon him, and his whole life was a prompt, practical recognition of them."Gerrit Smith, "John Brown" [a broadleaf], Peterboro, N.Y., 15 August 1867
Dear friends and John Brown scholars,
I am grateful to announce the next phase of the John Brown Photo Chronology, planned website publication and narrative development. Everyone's support and participation through the years is essential to current status, and earnestly sought to continue as we move forward.
[Jean has made the full Synopsis and History accessible on this link. (You can also find it directly by going to http://www.alliesforfreedom.org/) Below, find her conclusions.]
Best wishes to all,
Conclusions: Jean Libby’s revised John Brown Photo Chronology has grown from twelve original portraits to sixteen that are confirmed. Versions of the photo portraits in painted photographs and murals add to the classifications, making the total Chronology more than forty panels which are annotated. The timeline of John Brown’s movements from 1856 – 1859 is subject to new interpretation. Significant discoveries about the photographer of the extant daguerreotype (Boston Atheneum) made in Hudson in 1856 and a new photograph of Mary Brown taken in Boston in November 1859 known previously from the photographer’s statement (John B. Heywood) were found at the Hudson Library and Historical Society in September 2014. Research and documentation that Libby began in 1976 continues.The development of print photo replication from single-image daguerreotypes was eagerly sought by Brown and his supporters. Association of the photographers of John Brown with the Underground Railroad is a key intersection. The full Chronology is in development with Rick Moss, Chief Curator of the African American Museum and Library at Oakland (California) to be published online with permissions from the archives owners and a video narrative.
|The courthouse (left) as it looks|
today, in Charles Town
Thousands of foreign and native-born women and children are being enslaved in the United States by foreign and native-born human traffickers. Forced prostitution is, according to the federal government, the largest market for slave labor in America. This time there is no moral panic; most Americans are simply clueless. [Bales and Soodalter, The Slave Next Door: Human Trafficking and Slavery in America Today (Berkeley: Univ. of California Press, 2009), p. 11]So contemporary slavery survives on ignorance of the facts--including ignorance on the part of many people in this nation, for instance, that many of our products are directly or indirectly related to slave labor worldwide. On the interactive website, Slaveryfootprint.org, you can actually determine how many "slaves you have working for you." Likewise, a great deal of internet usage today represents the viewing and downloading of pornography, but how many porn users realize that a great deal of pornography involves the exploitation of enslaved women, young people, and children?
|His arms pinioned, Brown was|
conveyed by wagon to a field just
south of Charlestown, where he was
executed in a military ceremony from
which the public was excluded
"Presented in seven semi-autonomous segments titled after individual articles of John Brown’s Provisional Constitution of 1858, johnbrown melds an immersive audio/visual design and rigorous physicality, with a disruptive impressionistic performance structure. It excavates contentious birthrights born of “our peculiar institution,” while simultaneously exploring the gendered and generational processes at play in their perception. johnbrown premieres in New York on the 155th anniversary of the radical activist’s raid on Harper’s Ferry."The Kitchen also describes johnbrown as the product of three years of research "to create johnbrown, a dark, wry meditation on the legacy of the white 19th-century abolitionist." The creator, multidisciplinary artist, Dean Moss, is a 2014 Guggenheim Choreography Fellow and Doris Duke Impact Award in Theatre recipient. "Steeped in a childhood of grassroots organizing and pitched campaigns, multidisciplinary artist Dean Moss draws from an intimate and varied history with activism," notes the website. As Sheena reports further, johnbrown was presented in seven semi-autonomous segments, each titled after various articles of John Brown’s Provisional Constitution of 1858: “Vacancies,” “Treaties of Peace,” “All Must Labor,” “Irregularities,” “Crimes,” “Voluntaries,” and “Oath.” Dean Moss is the son of Harold Moss, the first black mayor of Tacoma, Washington (1994-96) and a civil rights activist who has also served as an official for the Washington State Department of Transportation. Moss senior reportedly provided the material for his son's production. The Kitchen website describes the production further:
"johnbrown melds an immersive audio/visual design and rigorous physicality, with a disruptive impressionistic performance structure. It excavates contentious birthrights born of “our peculiar institution,” while simultaneously exploring the gendered and generational processes at play in their perception."The program promo below is posted on Vimeo, which includes scenes from the performance, featuring an audio of the producer interviewing his father.
JOHNBROWN (promo) from Dean Moss on Vimeo.
I gotta say, I'd don't connect to this kind of art very easily. I don't like free jazz or abstract painting either, so chalk it up to my simplicity. The Kitchen site says:
The performance also included the video-play below, featuring Pete Simpson as John Brown, Okwui Okpokwasili as Frederick Douglass, Aaron Hodges as Watson (John Brown's son), and Tymberly Canale as Helen Pitts (Frederick Douglass' second wife). The script, written by Thomas Bradshaw, is at once interesting, irreverent, outrageously and grossly inaccurate, certainly risque, undoubtedly quite funny at points, and not without some thoughtful salutations to the unspoken aspects of the story."It is a testament to Moss’s handle on the worlds he creates — complex, multilayered, fantastical, and intimate — that he is able to have the memory of renegade abolitionist John Brown loom over the entire piece. However, we are all aware it is Moss’s John Brown we are seeing. His is a lowercase, no spaces, one-word “John Brown”; johnbrown is a euphemism, a reference, and an ever-evolving metaphor. Brown is so much more than historical matter or biographical trope in Moss’s world; he is an ideological framework, able to produce a compelling, albeit densely layered, performance work."
|Hudson in 1912|
|Tom Vince, Archivist of Western Academy, an authority|
on Hudson history and the Brown family history
(photo by LD, May 2009)
|Ruth Mills Brown's|