"Posterity will owe everlasting thanks to John Brown for lifting up once more to the gaze of a nation grown fat and flabby on the garbage of lust and oppression, a true standard of heroic philanthropy, and each coming generation will pay its installment of the debt. . . . John Brown saw slavery through no mist or cloud, but in a light of infinite brightness, which left no one of its ten thousand horrors concealed." Frederick Douglass

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Sunday, August 13, 2006

They Did Too Support John Brown
--a few quick comments to The Washington Times

Rick Britton's article [Washington Times, 10 Aug.] about the abolitionist John Brown at Harper's Ferry is appreciated and reasonably well done, except for the contention that "not a single slave joined him in his cause." Biographers and scholars of Brown and the raid like myself, Jean Libby, Hannah Geffert and others have challenged the longstanding assumption of historians--based mainly on the testimony of slaveholders and southern whites at the time, that enslaved blacks did not support Brown's effort. But there is actually a good bit of primary evidence that a significant number of slaves turned out, or at least remained on the periphery of the town, stifled because Brown delayed in leaving Harper's Ferry. The old abolitionist was far more effective than conventional historians have acknowledged. But their bias is being challenged and overturned by bonafide research.
Louis DeCaro Jr.

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