John Brown

Ink and acrylic on wood
15 ½ x 12 3/8 inches
Credit Line:
Collection of Lysiane Luong Grooms and the artist

John Brown was a white abolitionist who believed that violent activism, which included instigating revolt among enslaved African Americans, was the only way to end slavery. He made national news in 1856, when he and his colleagues killed five pro-slavery supporters during the Bleeding Kansas crisis. In 1859 he tried to raid the Federal armory at Harpers Ferry, Virginia, but in an attack led by Col. Robert E. Lee, a future Confederate general, Brown was captured, tried, and hanged. His strategies fueled the already heated slavery debate on the eve of the Civil War, and he remains a controversial figure in the abolitionist cause.