The Capture and Execution of John Brown: A Tale of Martyrdom

by Elijah Avey

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Slavery was truly an awful institution that, even today in its legacy, continues to plague the United States. During its height, abolitionists “waved the bloody flag” and vigorously protested to end it, though it took plunging the nation into the Civil War to result in it being finally eradicated. One person that took a powerful stand against “the peculiar institution” was John Brown. Though Brown had led forces against pro-slavery opponents earlier, it wasn’t until 1859 when he grabbed the national stage by leading forces, particularly enslaved African Americans, at Harper’s Ferry. The movement was ultimately unsuccessful, and Brown was captured and tried for treason against the Commonwealth of Virginia (before Harper’s Ferry was part of West Virginia). He was hanged despite vocal opposition from his supporters. Yet, his work as an abolitionist created ripples of tension that significantly fueled the drift towards war. This work is written by Elijah Avery, who offers a detailed, eyewitness account of the events, and contextualizes John Brown’s life.

This new edition is dedicated to the efforts of the American Public University System to preserve the artifacts of historic Charles Town in West Virginia with its associations with John Brown.