John Brown’s Legacy in the Landscape of Harpers Ferry

The History Bandits

The particulars of John Brown’s life are well-documented. So much has been written about him, from his ideas to his appearance, that it is nearly impossible to separate myth from man. He is alternately madman and martyr, freedom fighter and terrorist. An unlucky businessman and father of 20, Brown rose from obscurity to become a radical abolitionist, rubbing noses with some of the greatest American intellectuals of his day. However, Brown’s extreme and often violent tactics have complicated his legacy, rousing widely divergent opinions on how he should be remembered.

John Brown is a central figure in Joseph Barry's  classic book The Strange Story of Harpers Ferry (1903) John Brown is a central figure in Joseph Barry’s classic book The Strange Story of Harpers Ferry (1903)

Despite the fact that John Brown only spent a tiny fraction of his life in Harpers Ferry, Virginia (now West Virginia), the names are inextricably linked to one another.  John Brown’s ill-fated 1859 raid on the little town is considered to be one of…

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