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John Brown, Response to Elijah Lovejoy Murder (Reynolds, 2005)

Scholarship

David S. Reynolds, John Brown, Abolitionist: The Man Who Killed Slavery, Sparked the Civil War, and Seeded Civil Rights, rev. ed. (New York: Vintage Books, 2005), 65.

As the meeting drew to a close, John Brown suddenly rose, lifted his right hand, and said, "Here, before God, in the presence of these witnesses, from this time, I consecrate my life to the destruction of slavery!" His aged father then stood up and with his characteristic stammer added, "When John the Baptist was beheaded, the disciples took up his body and laid it in a tomb and went and told Jesus. Let us go to Jesus and tell him." Tears flowed down his wrinkled face as he led the meeting in prayer. No longer was John Brown working in secret. A murder committed by a proslavery mob had drawn from him a vow to fight slavery. The circumstances of his oath were telling. He was responding to a man who was an inchoate version of what he would later become. Elijah Lovejoy had risked his life by defending blacks publicly, as would Brown. Also like Brown, he persevered in his battle despite setback, and when faced with defeat he consciously chose the role of the Christ-like martyr.
How to Cite This Page: "John Brown, Response to Elijah Lovejoy Murder (Reynolds, 2005)," House Divided: The Civil War Research Engine at Dickinson College, http://hd.housedivided.dickinson.edu/node/14496.