Harper's Ferry in Jefferson County, West Virginia — The American South (Appalachia)
Harper’s Ferry History
Hayward Shepard — Another Perspective
On October 17, 1859, abolitionist John Brown attacked Harper’s Ferry to launch a war against slavery, Heyward Shepard, a free African American railroad baggage master, was shot and killed by Brown’s men shortly after midnight.
Seventy-two years later, on October 10, 1931, a crowd estimated to include 300 Whites and 100 Blacks gathered to unveil and dedicate the Heyward Shepard monument.
During the ceremony, voices raised to praise and denounce the monument. Conceived around the turn of the century, the monument has endured controversy. In 1905, the United Daughters of the Confederacy stated that “erecting the monument would influence for good the present and coming generations, and prove that the people of the South who owned slaves valued and respected their good qualities as no one else ever did or will do.”
In 1932, W.E.B. DuBois founder of the Niagara Movement and a founder of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), responded to the Shepard monument by penning these words:
Aimed at human slavery
A blow that woke a guilty nation
With him fought
Seven slaves and sons of slaves.
Over his crucified corpse
Marched 200,000 Black soldiers
and 4,000,000 freedmen
Singing: “John Brown’s body lies a mouldering in the grave,
But his Soul
Erected 2006 by the National Park Service.
Location. 39° 19.399′ N, 77° 43.805′ W. Marker is in Harper's Ferry, West Virginia, in Jefferson County. Marker is on Potomac Street 0 miles west of Shenandoah Street (U.S. 340), on the right when traveling east. Marker is adjacent to the "Hayward Shepard" monument. 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. Heyward Shepherd (here, next to this marker); White Hall Tavern (a few steps from this marker); John Brown Monument (a few steps from this marker); Lewis and Clark (within shouting distance of this marker); Armory Grounds (within shouting distance of this marker); Short-lived Sanctuary (within shouting distance of this marker); John Brown's Last Stand (within shouting distance of this marker); Federal Armory (within shouting distance of this marker).
Also see . . . 1. Wikipedia entry for Heyward Shepherd Monument. (Submitted on January 9, 2019.)
1. Du Bois’s words
The public posting of Du Bois’s 1932 words — he intended them to be posted immediately — was prohibited until 2006, first by Storer College, then by the National Park Service. See “Also See” link No. 1 for more information.
— Submitted January 9, 2019, by Daniel Eisenberg of Boca Raton, Florida.
Categories. Abolition & Underground RR • African Americans • Civil Rights • Notable Events •
More. Search the internet for Harper’s Ferry History.
Credits. This page was last revised on January 10, 2019. This page originally submitted on August 31, 2008, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland. This page has been viewed 1,540 times since then and 50 times this year. Last updated on December 18, 2018, by Daniel Eisenberg of Boca Raton, Florida. Photos: 1. submitted on August 31, 2008, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland. 2. submitted on September 2, 2008, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. 3, 4, 5. submitted on October 12, 2018, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.