How Could We?

Monday, July 30, 2012

Two stops on our vacation were stark reminders of the time in American history when white men and women regarded our black brothers and sisters as property, like dogs and horses. Except dogs and horses were sometimes treated better.

How could we? But would I have been any different if I'd lived then? I'll probably never know.

The first picture shows the old slave market in Charleston, South Carolina. It is now a museum, dedicated to educating visitors on how people bought and sold other people. Even when it split families apart.

The second picture shows John Brown's Fort at Harpers Ferry, West Virginia. It was really a fire station, but Brown chose it for his fortress when his raid failed.

John Brown was a white abolitionist who planned to seize the armory at Harpers Ferry, arm the slaves, and induce a slave revolt. This was in 1859, before the Civil War started.

When the raid went wrong, Brown and his men retreated to the "fort" and tried to hold off the U.S. Marines. Failing, they were captured and hung.

Although few people today deny the justice of John Brown's cause, some question the wisdom of his actions. Still, John Brown's Fort reminds us that some white men were willing to put their lives on the line for their black brothers.

But it shouldn't have been necessary.

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