"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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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Kick Off of Harper's Ferry Raid Sesquicentennial

May 25, 2009- Harpers Ferry National Historical Park kicks off the sesquicentennial of the Civil War with the re-enactment of a historic speech about John Brown.

Brown staged an 1859 raid on a Union arsenal, in hopes of starting a guerrilla war on slavery. But the raid failed and Brown was hanged for treason and murder.

On May 30, actor Fred Morsell will recreate a speech that escaped slave and fellow abolitionist Frederick Douglass later gave about the raid's impact.

Douglass said it proved the time for compromise was gone, and only a clash of arms would resolve whether the institution of slavery would survive.

The speech is the first in a series of events commemorating Brown's raid from now through December.

The anniversary of the raid is October 16.

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