Lincoln’s Election, Southern Secession: 1860 to April 1861

John Brown’s Martyrdom

Was there, then, no scene with the black baby?

Millions of us have at one time or another heard the wonderful story of Brown kissing a black baby while being led from his jail. The story is almost certainly false. The state militia was drawn up tight as a drum, and virtually no civilians, much less black ones, were allowed anywhere near John Brown. For all that, however, the story remains with us.

The reason for the story’s continuance is that John Brown would, very likely, have done that had the opportunity presented itself. It was very much in his character to do something that would confound his foes and astound his friends.


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