“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”

Near Bolivar in Jefferson County, West Virginia — The American South (Appalachia)

Holy Ground

Harpers Ferry National Historical Park


— National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior —

Holy Ground Marker image. Click for full size.
March 1, 2008
1. Holy Ground Marker
Inscription.  Here on the scene of John Brown’s martyrdom we reconsecrate ourselves, our honor, our property to the final emancipation of the race which John Brown died to make free… Thank God for John Brown!... and all the hallowed dead who died for freedom!
W.E.B. Du Bois, Niagara Movement general secretary and NAACP founding member

On August 17, 1906, members of the Niagara Movement walked silently past where you are standing. One of the first modern civil rights organizations in America, the Niagara Movement fought for racial equality and political representation at all social levels. Its members’ efforts laid the foundation for creating the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in 1909. Niagara participants came here to the site of John Brown’s Fort to honor Brown, who died to end slavery.

Black scholar Dr. Benjamin Quarles described their arrival: “As they neared their destination they formed a procession, single file, led by Owen M. Waller, a physician from Brooklyn. Defying stone and stubble, Waller took off his shoes and socks and walked barefoot as if treading on holy ground.” Other
Holy Ground Marker image. Click for full size.
March 1, 2008
2. Holy Ground Marker
This marker is on the left in this trio of historical markers.
members followed suit and together they walked barefoot to the fort. As they circled the fort they sang verses of John Brown’s Body and The Battle Hymn of the Republic.
Erected by National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African AmericansCivil Rights.
Location. 39° 18.483′ N, 77° 45.703′ W. Marker is near Bolivar, West Virginia, in Jefferson County. Marker can be reached from Murphy Road, on the right when traveling south. Located on the Murphy Farm trail in the Harpers Ferry National Historical Park. The Trail can be reached from the park's visitor center, located on Shoreline Drive south of Highway 340. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Harpers Ferry WV 25425, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Pilgrimage (here, next to this marker); A Moving Symbol (here, next to this marker); The Murphy Farm (within shouting distance of this marker); Mountains, Men, and Maneuvers (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Sheridan Dug In (about 800 feet away); The Fate of Harpers Ferry was sealed. (approx. 0.2 miles away); Struggle to the Heights
Former Site of the John Brown Fort image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain
3. Former Site of the John Brown Fort
The "fort" was relocated close to its historical position in Lower Town Harpers Ferry. This foundation trace was reconstructed on the site occupied while at Murphy Farm.
(approx. ¼ mile away); From Civil War to Civil Rights / Battle of Harpers Ferry (approx. 0.3 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Bolivar.
More about this marker. The background of the marker is a depiction of the scene described by Dr. Quarles in the text.
Also see . . .
1. The Niagara Movement at Harpers Ferry Centennial Commemoration. (Submitted on June 13, 2008.)
2. W.E.B. DuBois. National Park Service page providing a short biography of DuBois. (Submitted on June 15, 2008, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.) 

3. The Niagra Movement. The Cornerstone of the Modern Civil Rights Era. (Submitted on June 15, 2008, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.) 
Credits. This page was last revised on July 6, 2020. It was originally submitted on June 13, 2008. This page has been viewed 1,370 times since then and 3 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on June 13, 2008.   3. submitted on November 3, 2008, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. • Craig Swain was the editor who published this page.
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Feb. 27, 2021