Ver­mont de­clares hol­i­day to honor famed abo­li­tion­ist

Las Vegas Review-Journal (Sunday) - - NATION - By Lisa Rathke

MONT­PE­LIER, Vt. — As some com­mu­ni­ties con­sider re­mov­ing Con­fed­er­ate mon­u­ments, Ver­mont is for­mally hon­or­ing abo­li­tion­ist John Brown, whose 1859 raid was an im­por­tant step in the events that led to the Civil War.

The state leg­is­la­ture ap­proved a res­o­lu­tion this spring sought by a Wood­stock high school teacher des­ig­nat­ing John Brown Day in Ver­mont on Oct. 16, 2017. That’s the an­niver­sary of the raid Brown led on a fed­eral ar­se­nal in Harpers Ferry, in what is now West Vir­ginia, hop­ing to start an armed slave re­bel­lion. The re­bel­lion didn’t hap­pen, and Brown was hanged two months later for trea­son.

In recog­ni­tion of Brown, who is both ven­er­ated and much ma­ligned, the Wood­stock So­cial Jus­tice Ini­tia­tive is hold­ing an anti-racism sym­po­sium Satur­day at Wood­stock Union High School, where Brown will also be dis­cussed with stu­dents on Oct. 16.

Bradley Archer, a teacher who has ad­mired Brown for some time and is a mem­ber of the ini­tia­tive, said he was pleased the state was rec­og­niz­ing Brown in a time of ten­sion “over which peo­ple we should cel­e­brate and which we should con­demn.”

Be­fore the raid, Brown and a group of abo­li­tion­ist set­tlers killed five pro-slav­ery set­tlers in Kansas in the Pot­tawatomie mas­sacre.

Days be­fore the mas­sacre, Lawrence, Kansas, was sacked by pro-slav­ery as­so­ciates of Brown’s five vic­tims, Archer said.

John Brown

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