John Brown


John Brown

John Brown

I have a fascination with John Brown. He was an abolitionist of the most radical breed and most beloved relationships were with black men…hmmm…he was tormented and utterly disgusted with slavery, much more so than other white abolitionists. He felt that slavery was an act of war and violent in itself, so he had the right to act as if in war. He organized the raid on Harper’s Ferry in 1859 killing four men and wounding nine, he was later tried and hung for his raid.

He did this two years prior to the Civil War. It is of great interest to me how Northern men, acting on the behalf of the Union Army could legally and heroically kill confederates and wound them, but just two years prior, it was an act called a murderous rage… I feel like in retrospect, the Civil War might have been fought to end slavery (this can be disputed) and so John Brown acted on the victors side of history. But killing with the law and military on your side, and killing on your own are two very different things. I admire John Brown’s conviction. He was deeply religious and thought that slavery was an act of evil against God. So he took that evil into his own hands. He knew that slavery would never be abolished peacefully. And history tells us that it wasn’t. So Brown, a few years ahead of the country, violently acted against slavery. He wanted to instigate a slave rebellion…to destroy the stability of slavery actively in his lifetime. 

Ultimately, I believe that african-american tendency towards nonviolent tactics have been to their favor, violence is marginalized, demonized, and really only instigates more resentment and violence. 


John Brown is an american hero in a sense, but I’m not sure he should be my hero. He thought slavery justified murder, and his basis for this was his religious christian convictions. This means of justification is not unlike jihadism, which I am no proponent of. This leads me to my ongoing questioning of revolution, change, violence, and peace. If ultimately I want world peace, I have to be for peace, not violence, and not justify violence on any occasion, yet…i don’t believe the american brand of slavery would have ended without violence, I just don’t…


this theme of justified violence for a better world will be brought up frequently…


1 Response so far »

  1. 1

    gil villagran said,

    Dear Becky,

    Your blog is very interesting, blending your love for the muppets from your childhood,
    especially Bert, and your passion for history.

    As you know, I also have a passion to understand our human journey that only an honest
    study of history can provide.

    John Brown committed his life to the end of slavery in the U.S., and since no one person
    can change such a major national practice, he could only move others with his wild
    passion toward the final end of this despicable and grotesque legalized brutality.

    We can all learn from John Brown’s history, and resolve to work to end the brutalities
    of our time. These brutalities include the our national and global acceptance of famine,
    war, torture, and all types of ethnic, gender and class inequities.

    I am certain that you, Bequita, will make many positive contributions to bring awareness of
    these harsh realities. Peacefully, strategically and collectively, we can change the world!

    In great admiration, tu Papi

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