Last week we traveled to John Brown’s farm in the Adirondack mountains where we celebrated the Old Man’s birthday and his example to all of us of uncompromising and fierce resistance to slavery and white supremacy with the marvelous folks of JOHN BROWN LIVES! Greg Grandin, author of the dazzling The Empire of Necessity: Slavery, Freedom, and Deception in the New World gave a stunning talk, expanding my sense of the lengthening legacy of slavery. It inspired me to read again Benito Cereno, Herman Melville’s classic tale of the blinding light of white supremacist assumptions, and the continuing arrogance of the powerful who see in themselves qualities such as taste and history and agency, but construct the rest of us as statistical profiles: age, income, ethnicity, gender, race—and never agency.
John Brown LIVES!!!