Asked and answered. Tough questions for York countians about John Brown’s Harpers Ferry Raid

 

 

 

Osborne Perry Anderson, one of John Brown’s raiders on Harper’s Ferry in 1859, sought and found refuge in York after the failed attempt at starting a slave uprising. He later made his way to freedom in Canada. Also of interest: Civil War 150th Road Show parked in York, Pa.’s, Penn Park.

York countian and Facebook friend Jim Poland is a common-sense man of great passion and strong convictions.

So when we raised questions in this post about whether York countians were justified in aiding John Brown raider Osborne Perry Anderson’s escape from federal authorities, Jim responded with vigor.

Remember that Brown and others in his band were executed for their actions.

Here are Jim’s comments:

(1) Was John Brown’s violent actions at Harper’s Ferry justified to destroy slavery?

YES. The tide was moving toward abolition and the “evolution” away from slavery as a core of the American South’s economic engine had already taken too long and could well have taken another 30 years.

(2) Did slavery, dependent upon violence against a race of people, need to be ended by violence?

YES. Humankind history illustrates that extreme measures are necessary where violence and oppression occur.  Did the end of South Africa’s apartheid require violence to end that oppression?  Did the end of the “Ultimate Solution” of the Third Reich require the violent overthrow of the Nazi regime to open the gates of the “labor” camps and death camps?  Does the end of the violent, dictatorial oppression of populations in Middle East countries “really” require violence?

Has non-violent, civil disobedience achieved positive change where there is violent oppression.  Yes, but at the cost of life and limb of those protesting for change.

Did York City need to have violent “race riots” to achieve positive change?  Apparently, sadly, yes.

Less violent intervention is required when MORE of the TOTAL population, including members of the segment of that population benefiting from that very oppression, engage in non-violent initiatives for removal of the oppressive practices/system.

Those are Jim’s views.

What say you? (Please comment below.)

Also of interest:

All underground railroad posts from the start.

- For more on Anderson, see Scott Mingus’ Cannonball post: First shots at Fort Sumter bring war’s reality to county.

- The story of former slave William C. Goodridge of York, Pa., would play well in Hollywood.

About Jim McClure

Editor of the York Daily Record/Sunday News, ydr.com and its many digital products. East Region Editor, Digital First Media. Journalism/history blogger: yorktownsquare.com. Author or co-author of seven York County, Pa., history books.
This entry was posted in Archives, all posts, Black history, Civil War, Explanations/controversy, For photo fans, Underground Railroad, War and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Asked and answered. Tough questions for York countians about John Brown’s Harpers Ferry Raid

  1. Bill Landes says:

    Jim:

    This is fine and well, but have we really moved beyond racism in York and the U.S. in 2011??

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