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John Brown

On Contact: John Brown, Abolitionist

The painter Jacob Lawrence, in his 22-piece series ‘The Legend of John Brown’, first exhibited in 1941, chronicles in each of his panels a seminal stage in the life of the abolitionist John Brown. The first panel depicts Brown as Christ nailed to a cross, blood flowing from his nailed feet to the ground. The next scenes portray Brown as a man of exceptional religious conviction, willing to suffer financial failure and hardship in his fight for abolition. The middle compositions tell the story of Brown’s plans to free slaves, including his raids that massacred pro-slavery settlers in Kansas, his failed attack on the US arsenal at Harper’s Ferry, Virginia, and the final panels portray his capture, with his head bent, covered by long hair, and holding a cross, his sentencing and hanging.

Remembering The Battle Of Blair Mountain

At the beginning of August, 1917, a multiracial group of tenant farmers and other people mostly from Oklahoma, including the infamous abolitionist John Brown’s grandson, began what they hoped would turn into an armed uprising in Washington, DC, from different parts of the country, with the aim of putting an end to the imperial, capitalist war machine. Hard-pressed tenant farmers from all backgrounds — white, black, brown, indigenous, women, men, including prominent indigenous women organizers — were involved with this abortive effort that became known as the Green Corn Rebellion. Less well-known than even this virtually unknown Oklahoma uprising is the fact that it was born out of a secret multiracial network known as the Working Class Union, with an estimated 35,000 members in Oklahoma
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