While the Memorial Day holiday is focused upon the fallen soldiers of this nation, it is a good thing to remember those who suffered and died under the monstrous regime of Slavery U.S.A., generations and millions of black people who have been overlooked except as subjects for academics to write about.
Of course, given the fact that slavery was a legal, constitutional matter, there is a basis in law for some kind of reparations discussion. Scholars and activists may argue over the nature of reparations, but certainly we are not so far removed by historical distance from the days of chattel slavery that something cannot be done. At the very least, some kind of official apology, some historical monument, some day of remembrance, ought to be mandated by the federal government and by state governments.
John Brown, among other devoted anti-slavery people, recognized the malignant nature of slavery in the U.S.A. Yet while he was not the only one to oppose slavery, he was the only one in his era with an actual, functional plan to move against slavery. In this sense, Brown was not literally a revolutionist: he was definitive in not seeking to overthrow the government itself and this he made clear in his papers and official documents. What he sought to do was to destroy slavery in the hopes of saving the nation, to excise it like some cancerous tumor from the body politic of his beloved country. The reason he sought to do so, in part, was because he had a real historical memory that entailed a consciousness of the travesty of slavery—something that typically his greatest critics, even today, do not demonstrate. It is no accident that the people who hate or dismiss John Brown the most in our culture tend to be the least inclined to acknowledge the expansive wickedness of chattel slavery in their nation’s history. Such people would rather re-murder John Brown by way of half-truths and distortions than own up to the truth of their nation’s (and sometimes their ancestors’) barbarity, cruelty, and criminality as it pertains to black chattel slavery.