John Brown and Nat. Turner

Shawn Leigh Alexander

in T. Thomas Fortune, the Afro-American Agitator

Published by University Press of Florida

Published in print June 2008 | ISBN: 9780813032320
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780813039084 | DOI:
John Brown and Nat. Turner

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This chapter presents the editorials, “John Brown” and “Nat. Turner”, Fortune's side of a debate with Frederick Douglass Jr. over the need for African Americans to erect a monument in honor of John Brown. While Fortune saw the necessity of honoring Brown, he did not see the need of the African American community to give their pennies to perpetuate the memory of the Sage of Osawatomie. Instead, evoking a sense of race pride, Fortune called on the community to honor Nat Turner, a forerunner of Brown and “a black hero.” Fortune questions why every time the community “move[s] that somebody's memory be perpetuated, that somebody's memory is always a white man's.” It was such demonstrations of “the absence of race pride and race unity,” argued Fortune, “which makes the white man despise black men all the world over.”

Keywords: editorials; Frederick Douglass Jr; African American community; monuments; John Brown; Nat Turner; race pride; race unity

Chapter.  1155 words. 

Subjects: History of the Americas

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