October 16, 2016

Perhaps you will remember John Brown

On this date 157 years ago, assuming I got the math right, John Brown and his band of black and white guerrillas began their raid on Harpers Ferry in what is now West Virginia. It was an epic fail tactically but a huge win strategically in that things got pushed to the point of no return. I'm not big on theologizing history, but sometimes it seems like Brown was God's monkey wrench that got thrown into the machinery of a sinful land.

Here's a poem about him by Langston Hughes:

You will remember
John Brown 
John Brown
Who took his gun,
Took twenty-one companions,
White and black,
Went to shoot your way to freedom
Where two rivers meet
And the hills of the
And the hills of the
Look slow at one another —
And died
For your sake.
Now that you are
Many years free,
And the echo of the Civil War
Has passed away,
And Brown himself
Has long been tried at law,
Hanged by the neck,
And buried in the ground –
Since Harpers Ferry
Is alive with ghosts today,
Immortal raiders
Come again to town –
You will recall
John Brown.”

No comments: