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"The world needed John Brown and John Brown came, and time will do him justice." Frederick Douglass (1886)

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Sunday, December 09, 2018

John Brown's Grave

After his execution on December 2, 1859, Brown's body was conveyed to New York City first, where it was prepared for burial by sympathizers, and then sent upstate to Essex County, in the Adirondacks.  His body was conveyed by rail, then by boat across Lake Champlain from Vergennes, Vermont to Westport, N.Y.  The body was then carried by wagon up to North Elba, where he was interred on the grounds of his own farm on December 8.   His widow and surviving family sold the farm and moved west in 1863.  Over the years, the Brown farm was privately owned and eventually passed into the ownership of New York State. The John Brown Farm and gravesite has not attracted the numbers of visitors that have commonly visited the sites of presidents and statesmen, but over many years it has attracted myriads of faithful pilgrims, white and black.  Unlike those prominent sites that tend to service the mythology and top-down narrative of "America," the John Brown Farm is truly a site of conscience that testifies to the real history of the United States with its gross wrongs and injustices, and perhaps the quintessential story of one family that sacrificed everything for the cause of justice.  Perhaps it is time for you to make that pilgrimage.

John  Brown's body lies a mouldering in the grave.  His soul goes marching on.

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