Aimee Lee Cheek, "Copeland, John Anthony, Jr.," American National Biography Online, February 2000, http://www.anb.org/articles/15/15-00146.html.
Copeland was convicted of murder and of inciting slaves to rebellion and, like the other captured raiders, was sentenced to death. But just as the imprisoned Brown's eloquence and stoicism helped to transform his own image from madman to Christian martyr, Copeland's conduct challenged racist assumptions of black inferiority. Even the presiding judge and the special prosecutor at his trial, both white Virginians, later would vouch for Copeland's courage and poise, with the latter adding intelligence as well. "There was a dignity to him that I could not help liking," the judge would confess. "He was always manly." The eulogy at a funeral service for Copeland in Oberlin on Christmas Day praised the Supreme Being for granting African Americans a "not less firm, heroic and Christlike champion" at Harpers Ferry than whites had in "the immortal John Brown." African Americans throughout the North applauded, in the words of the Ohio State Anti-Slavery Society, "the noble and Christ-like John Brown and his compatriots."