Daniel J. O'Donnell (2/26)
I am writing as a scholar, clergyman, and citizen of New York State to urge you to make every effort to sustain funding for the John Brown Farm as a state historic site. As a biographer of the man, I believe that John Brown the abolitionist is one of the most important figures in 19th century U.S. history and has found increasing appreciation as scholars and historians have revisited his story with greater depth. Brown has been lauded as a vanguard egalitarian, a forerunner of the Civil Rights movement, and a heroic figure representing the highest belief that this nation should be a land of equality for all peoples under its banner. However controversial, John Brown is no longer viewed through the prejudiced, skewed lens of old, racist assumptions. As our state and nation continues on the road to global diversity, it is important that we honor the memory and contributions of those who lived, fought, and died to end slavery and racial oppression.
New York State has admirably sustained a historic commitment to maintain the John Brown Farm and land over the decades, and it would be a travesty of history and the present should our state leadership reverse this policy. The John Brown Farm is not an inordinately costly or extravagant operation and it annually functions as a place for students, scholars, and the public in general to learn and appreciate a very important chapter in our state's history.
Please do not permit this precious site to be closed down, or worse, be sold away into the hands of local entrepreneurs, who will exploit and sell this historic parcel of land to the highest bidder. Please think of the value of this site as a treasure for the posterity of our state and continue the valued policy of sustaining it. If the John Brown Farm is allowed to slip away under your watch, you will have inadvertently assisted in the debasement of our history and the robbery of a valued New York site from future generations of citizens and tourists.
We look forward with optimism to your positive response in fighting for the John Brown Farm as a state historic site.
Rev. Louis A. DeCaro Jr., Ph.D.