John Brown’s body . . .

john brownI like real-life heroes every bit as much as fictional, and here’s one you might enjoy reading about. Remember the childhood ditty, “John Brown’s body lies a-moldering in the grave …?” Well, it’s based on a real American, John Brown, who planned and led the raid on the Harper’s Ferry federal arsenal to help free this nation from the choking inhumanity of slavery. For the history buffs among my readers, this is an evenhanded and well-written account of the man, his time in “Bloody Kansas,” the raid on the U.S. arsenal, Brown’s execution for “insurrection” in leading that raid, and his ultimate legacy: the abolition of slavery in the United States. Here’s how the story begins:

November 7, 1837 was a turning point for John Brown. It was on that date that abolitionist publisher Elijah Parish Lovejoy was shot and killed by a pro-slavery mob in Alton, Illinois during their attack on his warehouse. It was the fourth printing press of Lovejoy’s to see such an attack. He and his supporters were ready to protect their right to free speech with guns, but in the ensuing firefight Lovejoy was struck down and instantly became a martyr for his cause. The primary goal was to destroy his printing press and abolitionist materials, but the murder of the author had to be icing on the cake for his attackers. It was at his funeral service in Hudson, that fellow abolitionist John Brown stood up, raised his right hand, and is quoted as saying, “Here before God, in the presence of these witnesses, I consecrate my life to the destruction of slavery.”

Enjoy the whole thing at:



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