John Brown

"It was holy war. It was terrorism. It was John Brown's "Virginia Plan." And it was a Tuesday--the day of the 1859 raid that virtually kicked off the Civil War.

"There were almost a half-million slaves in Virginia in 1859 and John Brown--late of the wool trade, a pious man with a "rifle-ball tongue"--meant to free them all. He could recite 19 verses from the bible that condemned slavery, and he possessed a "moral ruthlessness," according to which he promised God he'd wage war--even single-handedly--against the "Peculiar Institution" (as the 19th century dubbed slavery)" (Susan B. Martinez. Review of Raising Holy Hell, by Bruce Olds. Nonviolent Activist, Winter 2005: 26).

"His murder will penetrate the Union with a secret fissure which will tear it asunder" (Victor Hugo prophesy).

Colby Glass, MLIS