W. E. B. Du Bois

John Brown

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One of the preeminent Black scholars of his era traces the life and bold aspirations of a man who devoted his life to opposing slavery at any cost.

W.E.B. Du Bois examines John Brown as a man as well as a motive force behind the abolitionist sympathies that helped lead to the Civil War. He traces Brown’s sympathy for slaves to an incident in his youth when he was warmly received by a family that treated their slave with casual brutality. At the time it was written, John Brown was widely considered a fanatic at best, a lunatic at worst, but here he is seen clearly as a man driven by his Christianity and his personal morals to oppose what he clearly perceived as a tremendous wrong in society, and to do so regardless of whatever toll it might take upon him. The author examines Brown’s impact on the minds of those who understood that the abolitionist cause was supported primarily by Blacks, on the lives of Blacks who discovered a white man willing to fight and die for their freedom, and by the masses who found that slavery was not only an actionable moral issue, but one of deadly urgency. Originally published in 1909, on the 50th anniversary of Brown’s execution, this is W.E.B. Du Bois’s only work of biography. Although less known than the author’s The Souls of Black Folk or Black Reconstruction in America, John Brown remains a classic distinguished by its author’s deep understanding and eloquence.

With an eye-catching new cover, and professionally typeset manuscript, this edition of John Brown is both modern and readable.
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341 printed pages
Original publication



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