Born on this day in 1800, John Brown is a man whom it is hard to feel neutral about. Called a terrorist by some and a martyr by others, Brown was moved to violence by his conviction of the slavery system as evil and wrong, a conviction supported by his strong Christian faith. “John Brown’s legacy is typically whittled down to his audacious orchestration of an armed slave revolt in Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia…However, his October, 1859 raid on an armory saw Brown with only 21 armed supporters, all of whom were eventually overcome by a force of U.S. Marines.” (Firebrands: Portraits From the Americas).
Before his execution, Brown gave a speech which summed up his views: “Now, if it is deemed necessary that I should forfeit my life for the furtherance of the ends of justice, and mingle my blood further with the blood of my children and with the blood of millions in this slave country whose rights are disregarded by wicked, cruel, and unjust enactments, I submit; so let it be done!”
This image of John Brown was created for the book Firebrands: Portraits From the Americas by Alec Icky Dunn. Know a Firebrand you’d like mentioned? Leave a comment!