My dear friend, and John Brown Scholar, Louis DeCaro, Jr., alerted me to a posting on a Blog that includes letters received by Annie Brown Adams in the 1890s. Many are from African Americans sending her small amounts of money after reading about her house burning down. The letters are full of praise, and honor for her and her father.
The letters are amazing, and even more amazing to me since so much of her papers and things burned in the fire and were destroyed by her children after her death. I hope to find out who they belong to and connect with this cousin.
These letters were passed down through the family, they concern the late radical (and infamous) abolitionist John Brown. Personally I believe in strictly non-violent means of effecting societal change, although we live in an imperfect world and sometimes imperfect solutions become necessary in order to prevent the "greater evil". Certainly America has been no stranger in regards to sacrificing lives to this end.
If not for John Brown it's quite plausible that the Civil Rights movement might have been set back by fifty years or more. Was the movement's acceleration worth the lives that were taken? Herein lies the controversy. Incidentally I think it's worth pointing out that there is more slavery in the world today than at any time in recorded history. If John Brown were alive today, I wonder what he'd have to say about that?