John Brown

William Lloyd Garrison headed the Abolitionist Movement. Both he and Frederick Douglass used flaming oratory alone in furtherance of their cause. These impassioned men could only sit and pat their feet as the religious zealot John Brown set about attempting singlehandedly to abolish slavery.

New Englander John Brown got caught up in the raging forces propelled by the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854, which subsequently brought on the terrible violence known as, “Bleeding Kansas.”

After John Brown and his sons had added profusely to Kansas’ hemorrhaging appellation, he upped his game by attempting to take over the United States Arsenal at Harpers Ferry, Virginia (now West Virginia). His rash strategy was to arm other abolitionists and enslaved men, thus putting an end to the offending practice. Apart from his flawed tactics, it is ironic that it was the still-U.S.-loyal Robert E. Lee who put a crimp in his plans.

After a well reported trial, which many felt materially added to the agitation for war between the states John Brown was executed on December 2, 1859. The night before he was hanged, he wrote this final note, which he handed to a jailor on his way to the gallows.:

I, John Brown, am now quite certain that the crimes of this guilty land will never be purged away but with blood...

Here is another irony: John Wilkes Booth was present at John Brown’s execution. Although Booth was pro-slavery, Lincoln’s subsequent assassin expressed sympathy for John Brown’s plight; the fact that he must have felt dejected and abandoned when no one came to his rescue. Of course, this was six years before the ultimate humiliation of the South and the abrupt cessation of its inhumane, “Peculiar Institution.”


Don’t you worry ‘bout old John Brown;
He’s got the plushest grave in town –
Here, before the Blue and the Gray,
And finally, Old Abe Lincoln lay.

I’m the one whose body
Lies molderini’ in the grave.
For reasons not shoddy,
Some may say I was brave.

“Rash”, would better tell it;
I could not bear the lie.
They could never sell it
To me – I’d rather die.

There, in bloody Kansas,
With my sons by my side,
Just as Right commands us,
We traded blood for pride.

Later, Harper’s Ferry
Would cause it all to end,
And for them to bury
This soul, which would not bend.

(Repeat beginning bridge)

Not too long thereafter,
Hundreds of thousands more
Joined my joyous laughter
Here, down under the floor.

Yes, John Brown’s body lies
A- A-molderin In the grave.
B- It takes a lot of tries
C- To make bad men behave.
The hundred thousand more
Who for so long were mum,
Jumped right in to assure
A better “Kingdom Come.”

The Union, thus, was saved,
And bondage dealt a blow.
Although the road was paved,
It’s progress, though, is slow.

History will remember

The passion of John Brown.
He died a full member
Of Life, without a frown.

(Repeat beginning and middle bridge.)

John Brown end

Curtis W. Long

Curtis W. Long

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