Posts Tagged ‘John Brown’

Thursday, July 15, 2021

John Brown Farm and New York’s Voter Suppression History

voter suppressionThis year we are celebrating New York State’s acquisition of John Brown Farm 125 years ago.  And it is good that we are.

But let us also recall a 200th Anniversary linked to the John Brown Farm – a connection that has particular importance this year as we witness a voter suppression spree around our country.  Two hundred years ago, that was us–our New York ancestors–enacting explicit rules to keep blacks from voting.

John Brown and his family came here to the Adirondacks as part of an effort to counteract New York State-sponsored suppression of voting rights for black men.

We are now seeing a wave of voter suppression efforts in states controlled by Republican legislators fearful of losing their majority power.  Well, guess what?  That’s exactly what was going on here in good old New York back in the early 1800’s.  We New Yorkers apparently were leaders in voter suppression.  We even put it into the state constitution!  That’s more than the states are doing today.

» Continue Reading.


Monday, October 26, 2020

From the archive: John Brown

A new series on Showtime starring Ethan Hawke as abolitionist John Brown prompted me to dig into the Almanack archive for articles about Brown. (And don’t miss scholar/writer Amy Godine’s virtual Grange Hall talk tomorrow night about the historic statue of Brown at his Lake Placid farm.)

Here are a few gems:


Monday, October 26, 2020

Grange talk about John Brown memorial

From the Whallonsburg Grange Virtual Lyceum Series:

Statues and memorials on public land are being debated across the country. Amy Godine, historian and author, will plumb the lost history and meanings of an Adirondack icon, the statue of John Brown at his farm in North Elba. Whether you love it, hate it, or are not sure of its place today, this 85-year-old landmark memorial to the renowned abolitionist invites fresh consideration.

The Virtual Lyceum series is made possible through the generous support of the Glenn and Carol Pearsall Adirondack Foundation.

This talk is taking place from 7-8:30 p.m., presented via Zoom.

You must register IN ADVANCE so we can email you the Zoom link. You can register for the entire series or for an individual lecture. We will record the lectures and make them available later if you can’t watch them live.

Click here to register for the Virtual Lyceums.


Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Amy Godine on John Brown Pilgrimages, Lake Placid Club

Adirondack Life contributor and independent scholar Amy Godine is set to track the history of pilgrimages to abolitionist John Brown’s North Elba grave and home, with an emphasis on the yearly visits of the John Brown Memorial Association from Philadelphia and the exclusionary Lake Placid Club.

From 1922 into the 1970s, black activists gathered at Brown’s shrine to honor his May birthday with speeches, sermons, and song. People in Lake Placid participated too, spurning the segregationist culture of the Jim Crow era. Of special interest to Godine is the complicated relationship of the black city pilgrims with the notoriously exclusionary Lake Placid Club. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, June 6, 2019

John Brown Farm Nature Programs Planned

john brown livesJohn Brown Farm has announced a number of nature programs set to run in June.

Conservation biologist and photographer Larry Master will lead a guided bird walk on Saturday, June 8, from 7 to 9 am, and a guided butterfly walk on Saturday, July 13, from 9:30 to 11:30 am. Rain dates are June 15 and July 14, respectively. » Continue Reading.


Monday, May 13, 2019

Historical Pilgrimages to the John Brown’s Farm

Barber in November 1912Memorial Day weekend is approaching, and along with the “unofficial start of summer,” the Adirondacks will experience its annual influx of vacationers. But in years past, visitors arrived in May for another purpose: a pilgrimage to the John Brown farm in North Elba, New York. At the farm, a wreath would be laid upon the abolitionist’s grave, and the song “John Brown’s Body” was sung. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, April 21, 2019

John Brown Day 2019 Planned For May 4th

john brown dayJohn Brown Lives! has announced “John Brown Day: A Day of Reflection. A Day of Action.” is set for May 4th, 2019 from 2 to 4 pm, at the John Brown Farm State Historic Site.

John Brown Day is a commemoration honoring women and men whose work invokes the passion and conviction of the 19th-century abolitionist who dedicated his life to the cause of liberation. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, January 26, 2019

That So-Called Adirondack Hall of Fame

I’ve made it a point of personal honor not to engage in arguments over lists, a lesson learned in high school when the radio stations would play their obligatory end-of-year “100 Greatest Rock and Roll Songs of All Time” segments.

And you’d sit around with a bunch of people in your friend’s basement having a meltdown that Stairway to Heaven placed ahead of Satisfaction.

The capper was when stations, looking to reintroduce some buzz into a growingly tired feature, would pick something like Rubberband Man by the Spinners as the No. 1 Rock and Roll Song of All Time, spurring a renewed burst of moral outrage that even weed couldn’t suppress. The Internet has made things far worse, as morons in search of clicks have ranked stuff like the Top 10 Grasshoppers and the 10 Best Places For Retirees to Buy Housing Shingles. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, May 3, 2017

John Brown Day Set For Saturday, May 6

john brown livesAaron Mair, president of the Sierra Club; immigrant-rights organization Migrant Justice; and Don and Vivian Papson, founders of the North Country Underground Railroad Historical Association, will receive Spirit of John Brown Freedom Awards at the John Brown Day celebration on Saturday, May 6, at 2 pm.

The annual event, which is organized by North Country-based human rights and freedom education project John Brown Lives!, will be held at the John Brown Farm State Historic Site in Lake Placid. The public is welcome. » Continue Reading.


Friday, April 22, 2016

John Brown Lives! To Recognize Danny Glover, Alice Green, Brother Yu

John Brown Day 2016 PosterActor and activist Danny Glover, Albany civil rights leader Alice Green and youth advocate Brother Yusuf Abdul-Wasi Burgess will be the first recipients of the Spirit of John Brown Freedom Award, to be awarded at the John Brown Day 2016 celebration on Saturday, May 7th, at 1 pm.

The annual event, which is organized by Westport-based human rights and freedom education project John Brown Lives!, will be held at the John Brown Farm State Historic Site in Lake Placid. The public is welcome. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, March 26, 2016

Mary Ann Day Brown, Widow of John Brown

john brownLast weekend, the Saratoga Historical Society in California celebrated the 200th birthday of Mary Ann Day Brown, wife of radical abolitionist John Brown. The milestone was observed a few weeks prior to her actual birthday (April 15) to coincide with the Blossom Festival…. but, wait. Doesn’t John Brown’s body lie a moldering in his grave in New York State? Yes, it does, in the Adirondacks near Lake Placid. The grave of his second wife Mary however, is at the other end of the country, in Saratoga, California’s Madronia Cemetery.

It is all rather ironic since the life of Mary Ann Day started 200 years ago on April 15, 1816, in Granville in Washington County. Mary was a quite ordinary woman of the 1800s: quiet, modest, godly, and usually poor. Scores of thousands such lives pass unnoticed; history tends to remember women of wealth, beauty or offbeat wackiness if it recalls their existence at all. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, October 15, 2015

John Brown Event: American Martyr, Hero

John Brown by Southworth and Hawes - 1856A lecture titled “American Martyr: Why John Brown Is Thought Of As A Terrorist Instead Of A Hero” will be given by John Brown scholar Louis DeCaro Jr. on Saturday, October 17 from 3:30 until 5 pm at John Brown Farm in Lake Placid.

In December of 1859 John Brown was executed after leading an anti-slavery raid on Harpers Ferry, Virginia, part of the radical movement of tens of thousands of Americans struggling to undermine the institution of slavery in America before the Civil War. His body was returned to his farm in North Elba. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, April 29, 2015

John Brown Day Saturday, May 9th in Lake Placid

John Brown DayA biographer who has written extensively about John Brown, a civil rights activist who marched in Selma and a memorial honoring a youth leader who introduced countless city youth to the Adirondacks will highlight John Brown Day 2015.

The annual event will be held Saturday, May 9, from 2 to 4 pm at the John Brown Farm State Historic Site in Lake Placid. It is free and open to the public.

Speakers at the event, an annual celebration honoring the life and legacy of abolitionist John Brown, include biographer Louis DeCaro and civil rights activist Dr. James H. Carter. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, November 15, 2014

Amy Godine On Black History in the Adirondacks

TMDA LogoBlack history in the Adirondacks has an anecdotal quality, maybe because the numbers of black Adirondackers have been so few. Here’s a story of a black homesteader who was good friends with John Brown. There’s a barn that may have sheltered fugitives on the Underground Railroad.  Outside Warrensburg is a place in the woods where a black hermit lived. And so on.

The temptation – and I should know; I’ve been a lead offender – is to make a sort of nosegay out of these scattered stories, pack them all into a story by its lonesome, a chunky little sidebar, and let this stand for the black experience.

It makes a good read, and it’s efficient. And it’s wrong. It reinforces the idea that the black experience in this region was something isolated, inessential. It ghettoizes black Adirondack history, and this wasn’t how it was. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, June 15, 2014

In 1845 An Abolition Activist Toured the Adirondacks

Gerrit Smith in the 1840sLate spring of 1845 found Gerrit Smith, a leader of the Liberty Party, touring the North Country in search of disaffected “Whigs and Democrats, whose intelligence and Christian integrity will not permit them to remain longer in their pro-slavery connections.”

Smith, from Peterboro, in Madison County, traveled from Saratoga Springs, through Glens Falls and then into Essex and Clinton counties on his quest to build a credible third party, a devoted anti-slavery party. His report, printed in the Albany Patriot in late June, details the villages his visited, the people he met, and the difficulties he faced. » Continue Reading.