In his weekly column, rapper John Brown—the self-proclaimed "King Of Da Burbz"—will be offering his insight into politics and current events to the Complex readers. Check out "Politickin With John Brown" every
This year marks the 150th anniversary of the death of John Brown, the militant abolitionist from whom I take my stage name. Despite dramatic societal progression, it's staggering how relatively recent it was in America where this magnitude of conflict was prevalent. To put it in perspective, my grandfather turns 100-years-old next weekend. It's mind-boggling to think that only 50 years before his birth, Old John Brown was hanged for fighting against the evils of slavery, in a society that deemed him crazy. In honor of John Brown's legacy, and to familiarize those unaware of his actions, here's 5 of his most legendary acts, which lionized him as a controversial American martyr...
5. Pottawatomie Massacre, Kansas, May 24th, 1856
• When it came to Kansas, Brown really got it in. Dorothy's home state was in fact an epicenter of the slavery conflict, dubbed "Bleeding Kansas". After the anti-slavery town of Lawrence was pillaged by pro-slavery "Border Ruffians", Brown sought revenge. Joined by four of his sons and two others, Brown's team visited some pro-slavery racists near Pottawatomie River and murked five of them with broadswords.
4. Black Jack Battle, Kansas, June 2, 1856
• This was the fight that really got Brown's name buzzing in the streets. Widely considered the first battle of America's Civil War, Brown led this attack in the town of Black Jack, Kansas, after Border Ruffians detained two of his sons. After three hours of mayhem, Brown eventually captured his 30 opponents, escalating the national conflict.
3. Battle of Osawatomie, Kansas, August 30th, 1856
•In this daring showdown, Brown heightened his national rep as a brave militant, but also took his first serious L. After getting word that 400 Border Ruffians from Missouri were planning to attack the anti-slavery town of Osawatomie, Kansas, he rounded up his 30 riders and headed off for a confrontation. After losing six men, including a son, Brown's crew was forced to retreat and the pro-slavery mob proceeded to pillage and burn the town.
2. Constitutional Convention, Chatham, Ontario, May 8, 1858
• In 1856, Brown and his sons left Kansas and went back east to stack some paper. Although he received donations from northern sympathizers, Brown wanted manpower for a physical rebellion. An ally, Martin Delany, helped to organize a convention in Chatham, where one-third of its 6,000 residents were ex-slaves. Brown, who met Harriet Tubman at this convention, encouraged the abolitionists to fight to make Kansas a free state and a final destination for those in the Underground Railroad. It is believed that he successfully recruited several attendees at this event for his impending raid on Harper's Ferry.
1. Harper's Ferry Raid, Harper's Ferry, Virginia, October 16, 1859
• Brown's determination for violent insurrection culminated in his master plan to raid this Harper's Ferry armory. The idea was to steal a cache of weapons for the anti-slavery movement to set off a state-by-state revolution. Fredrick Douglas and other supporters at the time deemed it too risky and discouraged participation. The plan turned out to be disastrous. After they were surrounded in the armory, ten of Brown's men were killed, two of whom were his sons. Brown was detained, tried and eventually hanged on December 2, 1859. His death received national attention, and he is largely considered one of the central figures to catalyze the civil war, which officially popped off in 1861.