John Brown in the News
The L. A. Times ran a story about the Kennedy Farm in Maryland and it connection to John Brown and Civil Rights. The farm, where John Brown trained his small army before attacking the Harpers Ferry armory on October 16, 1859, went on to become an important part of music and civil rights history. The story is accompanied by and incredable drawing by David Horsey.
In 1950, after buying the farm property to preserve as a shrine to John Brown, the African American fraternal organization known as the Black Elks built a nearby auditorium. It is now a vacated wreck, but between 1950 and 1965, it became a remote but successful stop on the Chitlin Circuit, the string of dance halls and bars stretching from Boston to Austin where black musicians performed for black audiences shut out of other venues by segregation.
Many papers have covered this story over the past couple of months. I featured one article on my website on August 20, 2017, and received more hits and hate comments than I could ever have imagined. I have written to the history teacher, Bradley Archer, as well as the two State Legislators that sponsored the bill, but have not heard back from any of them. I wrote a comment on one of the articles:
As a direct descendant of John Brown, I thank Bradley Archer and the Vermont State Legislators, for recognizing my great great great grandfather on October 16th. John Brown is a very complicated man, who worked diligently with one outcome in mind – The Freedom and Equality of the Slaves.
He recognized that he was worth more to the abolitionists fight against slavery as a martyr. He denied all plans of rescue and willingly walked up the steps to the gallows 158 years ago. He died so the slaves could be free.
Here, a century and a half later, we are still fighting battles against slavery, human trafficking, and inequality. John Brown stands as a beacon to remind us of the value of all persons everywhere and what one person can do to change the world.
I continue to spread his beliefs, that we are all brothers and sisters; no mater what our color, gender, social class, education. Everyone deserves to be treated with dignity and kindness.
His soul and his work is marching on.
Alice Keesey Mecoy
Artist Josh Cocran has added a bright colorful 15 foot mural of John Brown waving a whisk and a cookbook in a bakery in Topeka, Kansas