(Lake Placid, NY, 10/18/22) – John Brown Farm State Historic Site was added to the National Underground Railroad “Network to Freedom,” state officials announced. John Brown had a lifelong connection to the Underground Railroad, through his assistance of freedom seekers and his work in the abolitionist circuit alongside self-liberated people. Owen Brown, John’s father and ardent abolitionist, played a role in Hudson, Ohio’s Underground Railroad community when John Brown was a child.
When he came of age, he followed in his father’s footsteps. Brown’s children recalled freedom seekers staying with their family throughout their childhood, one of whom stayed at their home in North Elba, New York. John Brown’s final resting place is on his North Elba farm alongside several of his sons and other Harpers Ferry Raiders.
“John Brown Farm continues to serve the Adirondacks as a touchstone and global site of conscience,” said OPRHP Regional Director Alane Ball Chinian. “I’m grateful to the National Park Service for this meaningful
designation, which elevates the site’s profound history, and bolsters the efforts of John Brown Lives! to connect that history with the continuing struggles of today.”
“We are excited that the humble Adirondack home of John and Mary Brown has been recognized by the National Park Service for their supporting role in the epic struggle to end slavery in the United States,” said
Martha Swan, Executive Director of John Brown Lives! “This designation will surely increase public awareness and appreciation for the historic site, but we also hope that it will be a catalyst for more scholarship on abolition in the Adirondack region and greater community engagement and civic dialogue to wrestle with the roots and afterlives of slavery still plaguing our democracy today.”
“Each Underground Railroad story documented by the Network to Freedom Program explains the harrowing risks people took to liberate themselves from an unjust system of oppression,” said Diane Miller, National
Program Manager. “The resilience and bravery of freedom seekers and their allies continue to inspire the Network to Freedom’s work. Alongside our members, new and old, we will continue to ensure that their stories are not lost to history.”
The National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom serves to honor, preserve, and promote the history of resistance to enslavement through escape and flight, which continues to inspire people worldwide. The Network currently represents over 700 locations in 39 states, plus Washington D.C. and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Through its mission, the Network to Freedom helps to advance the idea that all human beings embrace the right to self-determination and freedom from oppression.
John Brown Lives! (JBL!) is a freedom education and human rights project that amplifies the lessons and legacies of the past to inform and inspire civic action and the creation of a more just, livable, and joyful society. The official NYS Friends Group of the John Brown Farm State Historic Site in Lake Placid, JBL! works to promote, preserve, interpret, and welcome all peoples to the abolitionist’s final resting place. Inspired by the late historian James O. Horton, JBL! enlists historians, artists, educators, and activists to engage the public in addressing “slavery’s diversity, longevity, complexity, and centrality” and its enduring manifestations.
New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation oversees more than 250 individual parks, historic sites, recreational trails, and boat launches, which were visited by a record 78 million people in 2020. A recent university study found that spending by State Parks and its visitors supports $5 billion in output and sales, 54,000 private-sector jobs and more than $2.8 billion in additional state GDP. For more information on any of these recreation areas, call 518-474-0456 or visit parks.ny.gov, connect on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.
Photo at top: John Brown Farm State Historic Site. Photo provided by Martha Swan, Founder and Executive Director, John Brown Lives!