Today, October 16, is the 150th anniversary of John Brown’s Massacre at Harper’s Ferry. If you have read Cloudsplitter by Russell Banks John Brown will be alive to you. I wonder why today doesn’t have some national recognition. (I learned of it on Democracy Now) Yes, it would be celebrating violence and so does our Revolution.
Lincoln was elected the following year and by February1861 the southern states adopted a provisional constitution as the Confederate States. War broke out in March 1862 (thank you, wikipedia) and Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation January 1, 1863. Some argue Harper’s Ferry was the slow beginning of the Civil War.
To celebrate the Massacre would be to embrace our shameful past rather than shirk it, and to see ourselves as–slowly enough, God knows–a reformed nation.
So here’s to you, John Brown, and your crazy martyrdom. You got people’s attention at last.