Skip to comments.Prelude to the Civil War; Four states mark the 150th anniversary of John Brown’s raid
Posted on 03/21/2009 7:02:03 AM PDT by Liz
A series of reenactments, dramatic productions, family activities and special tours are scheduled this year as Civil War sites in West Virginia, Maryland, Virginia and Pennsylvania commemorate the 150th anniversary of abolitionist John Browns October 1859 raid on the arsenal at Harpers Ferry. Although the raid itself failed, it succeeded in exacerbating the divide between North and South, pushing the nation closer to civil war.
Before the raid, negotiations and a compromise between North and South might have been possible; however, after the attackand Browns trial and hangingemotions ran so high that armed conflict became inevitable, says Tom Riford of the Hagerstown-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau.
At the time, Brown was denounced on both sides of the MasonDixon Line as a terrorist and an enemy of the Union, but others just as passionately revered him as a martyr. Brown inspires those same polarized opinions among todays visitors to Harpers Ferry National Historical Park (nps.gov/hafe), says Todd Bolton, events committee chair for the John Brown Sesquicentennial Quad-State Committee (johnbrownraid.org). Our job at Harpers Ferry is to present the facts and the history, and let people decide for themselves, he says.
There will be plenty of opportunities this year to learn about Brown, beginning on April 18 with the first Signature Event of the sesquicentennial: Prelude to History: The Wedding of Virginia Kennedy at Harpers Ferry National Historical Park. The days attractions include a dramatic monologue about the raid told from the perspective of the wife of raider John Cook. Visitors can also enjoy period music, youth activities and tours of the Lower Town at Harpers Ferry, which has been preserved as it appeared during the Civil War era.
The town of Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, lies at the confluence of the Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers, bordering Maryland and Virginia. The 3,500-acre National Park extends into all three states. Brown had his northern headquarters in Pennsylvania, the fourth member of the quad-state committee. On May 22, the John Brown House in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, will be rededicated and reopened after a major renovation.
The Kennedy Farmhouse in Samples Manor, Maryland, staging place for the raid, will host a rare open house with tours and demonstrations July 12. Frederick County, Maryland, attracts the spotlight August 89 for its Militia and Fire Company Days, with displays of antique fire-fighting equipment. Other events happen throughout the summer and fall, including regular ranger-guided tours of Brown-related sites in the National Park and surrounding areas.
The centerpiece of the sesquicentennial observation takes place in the Harpers Ferry area October 1618, 150 years to the day after the raid and subsequent siege. Following a twilight reenactment Friday of Browns six-mile march to Harpers Ferry, the commemoration continues on Saturday and Sunday with a full slate of music, living history, family activities and ranger-guided programs.
Because of the significance of the raid, the John Brown Sesquicentennial is regarded as a prelude to the Civil War Sesquicentennial, which the nation will observe from 2011 to 2015.
Theresa Gawlas Medoff
Learn more about the Civil War and the nations sesquicentennial plans at cwar.nps.gov/civilwar/abcivwarSesqInit.htm. The information in this story was accurate when it was published in the March/April 2009 issue of AAA World, but dates, times and prices may have changed since then. We suggest you verify such details directly with the listed establishments before making travel plans.
Talk about apples and oranges and you bring up Timothy McVeigh! John Brown is getting his final judgment just as anyone who is involved in killing and warfare. I believe he was just in his war and you and I obviously disagree. Too much indifference to the injustice for far too long.
Can you come out and play? : )
Hmmmm, John Brown?
I’m no fan.
John Brown was at best an addled lunatic that believe that if guns were in the hands of slaves that they would rise up in mass and commit in this country the sort of violence and bloodshed that had happened in Haiti.
Personally I am glad that the Marines and some unknown passed over regular army Colonel named Robert E. Lee to a stop to his madness, before it got a lot of American families killed.
Brown was a klutz with no experience or planning who thought a spontaneous eruption of hate, murder and mathem would engulf this country if he could only get enough guns into the hands of slaves, and he did not care what happened to either the slaves or their masters or even ordinary families without slaves once the revolt was underway.
He deserved to fail and what he got but more importantly he deserves in part to be blamed for the south’s unwillingness to debate the issue of slavery in a constitutional amendment, it was his radicalism that gave them all the fuel they needed to secede.
WOW! Who are you and why ain’t I capable of saying what you say in the same way that you do and may I borrow some of your brillance? WOW!
Maybe these Civil War threads should be moved to the smoky Backroom.< /sarcasm>
I have accused no slave of terrorism and after all that's the subject I referred to, not slavery. I said that John Brown was a terrorist. His acts testify to that fact.
If terrorism is ok in some instances for a "just cause", then the jihadists are ok. I can assure you that they believe with all their hearts that their cause is just and so are their tactics. They have an ok from their god and so John Brown thought also.
I don't believe for one minute that God told John Brown to murder and butcher adult males in the presence of their families but he certainly thought so.
Don't interpret my condemnation of terrorism as defence of slavery, it isn't.
I find it quite odd that Brown was able to contain his anti-slavery passion and refrain from attacks on Union states that still allowed slavery. Some are more equal than others.
I guess that shows how full of S he was.
Well, that makes grisly murder in the middle of the night O.K. then I guess.
What about the innocent people killed at Harper's Ferry? The ends justify the means in your view?
That's actually a myth since the 1860 Census showed that planters were actually transitioning their slaves over from the cotton and tobacco fields to the nascent industries, especially mining, that were beginning to take root in the South, about twenty or thirty years behind the North.
Thanks-----movie has an amazing star-studded case.
John Brown got me an awesome A in high school with a teacher I hated, and who hated me.
It was kinda like a raid. Teacher never saw it coming.... had to surrender to my awesomeness. What can I say.
I think you misunderstood my point.
(1) Slavery was going to end because of growing moral concerns in the US and elsewhere. The South would have been forced, through diplomatic means and trade sanctions, to make that change. It would have been nice if John Brown and others had not so inflamed passions that people (e.g., Robt. E. Lee) felt that the morally correct choice was to defend their state (i.e., Country). Under the same circumstances, I may have made the same decision as General Lee.
(2) With the end of slavery, the South needed to adapt it’s labor intensive practices in favor of more mechanized processes. It doesn’t matter if it’s farming or mining or whatever.
“Im so confused”
Don’t be. His opposition to slavery is not the issue here.
He took the law into his own hands, and massacred people.
He was a bloody murderer. Hanging was an easy death.
Well, he may have had convictions, but to murder innocent people did not help his cause.
By Christian belief, I am sure he is already there. I am simply stating that like Hitler, he deserves it.
He was a cold-blooded murderer, regardless of what he professed. Slavery was the law of the land. Laws are changed thru channels. To murder innocent people is not Christian or biblical.