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John Brown Day 2016
This year, the birthday of John Brown was marked by a special program in Lake Placid, N.Y. sponsored by our friends at John Brown Lives! For the first time, the John Brown Spirit of Freedom Award was introduced. The ceremony was held at the John Brown Farm, a New York State historic site, where Brown is interred with his sons and raiders.
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The recipients of the award were actor Danny Glover, who is also a notable activist dedicated to human rights, economic and social justice, and environmental concern. Glover is currently serving as an ambassador for UNICEF. Another recipient was Alice Green, executive director of the Center for Law Justice, Albany, N.Y. Green founded the Center in 1985 in order to provide community education in civil and criminal justice, legal matters, community affairs, and issues of civil rights and liberties. The third recipient was the late Brother Yusuf Abdul-Wasi Burgess, an activist in the Albany area known for introducing Albany-area youth to the Adirondacks, natural sciences, nature trips, and archaeology digs, and environmental issues. Bro. Abdul was a board member of John Brown Lives! at the time of his death in 2014.
According to a report by Pat Bradley published on WAMC Northeast Public Radio's website (May 9), Glover said he first learned about John Brown when he was ten years old when he saw the film, Santa Fe Trail. Despite the deep historical flaws of that film, the moral force of the abolitionist reached young Glover, who became fascinated by John Brown and wanted to learn more about him as a result. "I remember crying at the end of the movie with his hanging," Glover said. "The memory of that moment began to resonate and began to shape so many things that happened about me. . . . John Brown lives inside of me. And I want to be part of [Martin Luther] King's last book, Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community? I move toward community. Because if we’re moving towards community, then we’re moving toward love. If we’re moving toward community we’re moving toward justice. That's what I'm saying.”