Read John Brown by W.E.B. Du Bois Free Online
Book Title: John Brown|
Date of issue: December 1st 1987
ISBN 13: 9780717803750
The author of the book: W.E.B. Du Bois
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 22.96 MB
Edition: International Publishers
Read full description of the books John Brown:The class I took in college that featured John Brown as a small figure in American contemporary history dismissed him fairly quickly. He meant well, but was not stable, they said; in the end, he took extreme, hopeless measures that were destined for doom. He remained a hero to Black families (they admitted), South and North alike, as the first Caucasian man who was willing to die for the rights of Black people. Whereas many White folks (those with enough money for a fireplace and a portrait to go over it) featured a family ancestor or a painting of George Washington, Black homes often had a picture of John Brown.
The problem with that education is that no African-American scholars were included in this very central, pivotal part of the prelude to the American Civil War. I doubt anyone would doubt the credentials of this writer, whose urgent and compelling defense of Brown as a selfless but sane man with a perfectly good plan that went wrong due to a couple of the people in key positions of responsibility for the taking of Harper's Ferry held my face close to the book (it is not the edition pictured; mine is so old, we've had it for so long, that the plastic lamination on the paperback has half peeled off, and it is not featured here!). The writer's words forced me to read it, though I am no longer a student, with a pen in hand to underline and star key passages.
It's tempting to leave it here, but I think I need to give you a couple of instances that may draw you, if you like history, care about the rights of Black people in the USA--because the oppression that started here is still not over (that's me speaking; DuBois died in Ghana in 1963), if you are interested in the Civil War or Brown in particular, you have to read this book.
Tidbits that do not spoil, then: Harriet Tubman planned to be there with him. She became seriously ill and was confined to bed; otherwise, she meant to fight alongside him.
White writers have all assumed that his escape route was impossible. They have the WRONG escape route; DuBois explains the actual plan.
The Underground Railroad was run almost entirely by Black people, some of them wealthy, in the Northern US. DuBois points out that free Blacks owned over a million dollars worth of property, free and clear.
It was this same large body of free Blacks who provided the funding for Brown. He would have had more, if he had not become ill, and the loss of momentum removed most of his Canadian backers. Indeed, DuBois states that Brown most likely went to Harper's Ferry physically ill and "racked with pain", that he was very gaunt due to illness and poverty, but felt that to wait longer would be to lose his support and those he had gathered (a small group) for the initial attack.
To say might make you feel as if you have little reason to read this book. It is eloquently laid out as only a wordsmith such as DuBois is capable of doing. I am deeply sorry I waited so long to find time for it.
Read information about the authorIn 1868, W.E.B. Du Bois (William Edward Burghardt Du Bois, pronounced 'doo-boyz') was born in Massachusetts. He attended Fisk College in Nashville, then earned his BA in 1890 and his MS in 1891 from Harvard. Du Bois studied at the University of Berlin, then earned his doctorate in history from Harvard in 1894. He taught economics and history at Atlanta University from 1897-1910. The Souls of Black Folk (1903) made his name, in which he urged black Americans to stand up for their educational and economic rights. Du Bois was a founder of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and edited the NAACP's official journal, "Crisis," from 1910 to 1934. Du Bois turned "Crisis" into the foremost black literary journal. The black nationalist expanded his interests to global concerns, and is called the "father of Pan-Africanism" for organizing international black congresses.
Although he used some religious metaphor and expressions in some of his books and writings, Du Bois called himself a freethinker. In "On Christianity," a posthumously published essay, Du Bois critiqued the black church: "The theology of the average colored church is basing itself far too much upon 'Hell and Damnation'—upon an attempt to scare people into being decent and threatening them with the terrors of death and punishment. We are still trained to believe a good deal that is simply childish in theology. The outward and visible punishment of every wrong deed that men do, the repeated declaration that anything can be gotten by anyone at any time by prayer." Du Bois became a member of the Communist Party and officially repudiated his U.S. citizenship at the end of his life, dying in his adopted country of Ghana. D. 1963.
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