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Connections with the Past:
Reflections on John Brown
page 2

Recent Letters from Jean Libby and other scholars

May 12, 2006
Jean Libby to "John Brown Scholars" list
Dear John Brown Scholars -- I am so pleased to participate in the showings of films about John Brown following the visit by CORE to the John Brown Farm in North Elba on his birthday last week.  (see photo)
The people in CORE are still as I remember them from the 1962 - 1969 period. They had not heard of the documentary Mean To Be Free: John Brown's Black Nation Campaign that I made while an undergraduate in African American Studies at UC Berkeley in 1986.  But when they did, a couple of days ago following our email communication that was initiated by Louis A. DeCaro, Jr. (Fire From the Midst of You; a religious biography of John Brown, NYU Press, 2003)  they decided to show the Brown as liberator rather than Brown as "the father of American terrorism" program first, on next Wednesday, May 17.
Rather late in life I became a community college instructor of US History, African American History, African History, and Ethnic Studies.  I am now retired from the California community college system after being an adjunct instructor for ten years at five different colleges.  Some on this list serve are students and colleagues from those years (1994 - 2005), and can attest that students appreciated my telling stories of experiencing the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s in California.  (thank you, Joe Holt of San Jose, for making this very clear)
There are many photos in this recently remastered DVD that are of people who helped me along the research path of John Brown:  Rev. Albert Moser; the people of Mt. Moriah Baptist Church in Pleasant Valley, Maryland; John Frye of the Western Maryland Room in Hagerstown; South T. ("captain") Lynn, who preserves the John Brown Farmhouse in Maryland pictured with the late Rev. Leonard Curlin, who kept the Kennedy Farm from destruction by buying for the Black Elks in 1949; the late Mrs. Dora Washington who hosted me and teenage daughter for several weeks in her home in Shepherdstown, West Virginia, in 1978, so that I could do the research.     
Much gratitude to all,

Please click image for the entire photograph.May 12, 2006
Corrine Innis to various recipients (excerpt)

On Tuesday, May 9, 2006, CORE officials, Roy Innis (National Chairman), Niger Innis (National Spokesman) and Joe Lovece (Board Member), marked the 206th anniversary of the birth of John Brown and the 147th year of his execution by laying a wreath of flowers at his grave in Lake Placid, New York.

We received positive feedback from John Brown historians and scholars from around the country and Canada. One of the respondents was the great-great grand daughter of John Brown. They all expressed their gratitude for honoring and giving him recognition for his contributions in ending slavery. In a press release dated May 9, 2006, Mr. Innis noted that within two years of John Brown's death, the Civil War broke out. He also stated that many are unaware that he was the spiritual inspiration of the Union Army.

June 30, 2006
Calobe Jackson, Jr. to Jean Libby

Hello Jean, I met you at the Mount Alto symposium on John Brown a few years ago. I bought your book on Rev. Thomas W. Henry.  My question to you is about the connection of William Howard Day to John Brown. I know that Day printed Brown's Provisional Constitution.  Also John Brown's father was on the trustee board at Oberlin College, where Day attended. Also John Brown's second wife's maiden surname was Day. William Howard Day was out of the country when the raid on Harper's Ferry took place.

William Howard Day later came to Harrisburg and was very involved with education. (See Afrolumens)
W. Justin Carter, lawyer, of Harrisburg was one of the attendees at the 1906 Niagara meeting. I would like to attend to honor his participation in the movement. (afrolumens)

Best Regards.
Calobe Jackson, Jr.  2

July 13, 2006
Jean Libby in reply to Calobe Jackson, Jr.

Dear Calobe Jackson,

I am not quite sure how to reply to your question about William Howard Day on the section that has the materials about the John Brown memorial, so searching around has brought me here.

Yes, you are absolutely correct that William Howard Day was deeply involved with John Brown and the printing of the Constitution. There are some letters from John Brown about Day and this event which are at Fisk University, because that is where Day’s widow sent them. Other letters are scattered. I will try to locate notes about them and bring you that information to the conference at Harpers Ferry in August which commemorates the Centennial of the Niagara Movement.

Several of us, including Eric Ledell Smith at the Pennsylvania Museum, are working hard to have a publication ready for this conference. Eric is publishing his examination of the Dreer Collection documents about John Brown in this pamphlet. This publication is called “John Brown’s Family in California.” It is a pamphlet which I made as a course reader, a travel class, about the sites in which John Brown’s family lived. Eric’s article title is “Finding the Carpetbag,” which is exactly what he has done.

Please stay tuned – I hope to meet you at the conference. I will be driving to and from Harrisburg after arriving by plane from California to Pittsburgh, then train. I am a train buff and want to do the Altoona grade again. Last time was 1976.

Thank you, Afrolumens, for being a communication center about Pennsylvania of interest to everyone.

Jean Libby

[email protected]  3 


1. Correspondence, Jean Libby to Afrolumens Project, 12 May 2006.
2. Correspondence, Calobe Jackson, Jr. to Afrolumens Project, 30 June 2006.
3. Correspondence, Jean Libby to Afrolumens Project, 13 July 2006.

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This page was updated July 19, 2006.