Friday, December 11, 2009

The Year of John Brown Comes To An End

"In Saratoga, California, my father, Paul Meredith Keesey, a great-great grandson of John Brown, and here in North Elba, New York, I, a great-great-great granddaughter of John Brown, participated in the ceremonies commingling the soil from John and Mary Brown's graves. Today, though their bodies are buried on opposite coasts, John and Mary Brown have been reunited by the actions of their descendants.

The reenactment of the burial of John Brown and the commingling of soil between John and Mary Brown's graves represent the culmination of 2009 – The Year of John Brown.

I have been both honored and proud to represent the Brown family as I have traveled to and spoken at many of the sites with John Brown historical significance: Red Bluff, Rohnerville and Saratoga, California; Hudson and Akron, Ohio; Charles Town and, of course, Harpers Ferry, West Virginia; and now, North Elba, New York.

Along the journey, I have had the opportunity to connect with many friends I have been corresponding with for years and have met many new friends. Like my ancestor, I do not see strangers, only friends I have not yet met.

The Year of John Brown has been an emotional year for me personally. I have experienced tears of joy and tears of sadness, moments of noise and longer moments of silence, examined the dark ugly side of humanity and celebrated the shining light of humanities greatest moments.

As I have traveled throughout this year, I have felt the presence of my great-great-great- grandfather, John Brown, close by my side -  his hand on my shoulder when I needed comforting, his fingers brushing the tears gently from my cheeks when I wept, and laughing with me in my moments of joy, although I laugh much louder than he did.

Now we come to the end of The Year of John Brown – but it is not the end of the fight. John Brown gave the ultimate gift of his life to end slavery, but we are still surrounded by this most evil of institutions.

During my travels, I have often heard people say, "Slavery ended with the Emancipation Proclamation, or if it does exist, it is only in underdeveloped countries. America does not have slavery." To this I answer, "No, you are wrong. Not only does slavery exist in the undeveloped countries, but in your own backyard. Slavery is not the public selling of another human, but rather the complete control of a person by the threat of violence for economic gain. A slave is a human being with no rights! This atrocity still exists today."

"But what can I do," you ask, "I am only one person. How much difference can I make?"

You must do everything you can to stop this evil:


Support the efforts of civil rights organizations such as C.O.R.E. (www.core-online.org) and the NAACP (www.naacp.org).

Become active in an Anti-Slavery organization like Free the Slaves (www.freetheslaves.net) or The Frederick Douglass Family Foundation (http://fdff.org).

Tell your friends, your neighbors, your family, your children, your teachers – stop strangers on the street and tell them about slavery and the need to end it.

There are so many things you can do, JUST DO SOMETHING!

As we come to the end of The Year of John Brown, we commemorate his death, celebrate his life and pledge to continue the good fight, remember, John Brown was only one man, and look at what he accomplished!"

Alice Keesey Mecoy
Great great great Granddaughter of John Brown
December 8, 2009
Heaven Hill Farm>
Lake Placid, NY

Closing Speech of the John Brown Coming Home Events in Essex County, NY. Heaven Hill Farm, December 8, 2009

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