John Brown

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John Brown
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Brown, John
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The radical abolitionist John Brown fought against slavery in the West before carrying out the raid on Harper's Ferry in 1859 that was intended to inspire a slave rebellion in the South. He is not mentioned in Light in August, but Joanna Burden's grandfather is clearly one of his partisans during the pro- and anti-slavery fighting that made Kansas 'Bleeding' or 'Bloody Kansas' in the early 1850s. His name is mentioned in Go Down, Moses, where Ike McCaslin extols him as a hero, one of the great men in human history: "one simple enough to believe that horror and outrage were first and last simply horror and outrage and crude enough to act upon that" (270-71). In Intruder in the Dust, on the other hand, Brown's actions are cited as having set back the cause of human freedom (211).