John Brown and Kent, Ohio

John Brown Tannery Park in Kent, Ohio, [then Franklin Mills, Ohio] was the site of John Brown’s tannery from 1836 to 1837. Today, John Brown Tannery Park is a nature park on the Cuyahoga River, where outdoor sports enthusiasts canoe and kayak on the Cuyahoga River, but the rushing river provided a perfect place for John Brown’s Tannery.

John Brown was a devout Christian, and the Franklin Congregationalist

Church had a revival during the summer of 1836. Brown dutifully took his family to church and the service began, but John Brown’s mind was not on the service. Brown had noticed that the African-Americans were seated at the rear of the sanctuary behind the stove. Thus they could not see the service, and more to the point, the European-Americans did not want to see or sit near the African-Americans due to the racism of the era.

John Brown pondered this during the revival service, and the more he thought about the racism and discrimination in the Franklin Mills

Congregationalist Church, the more determined he became to make a stand against the blatant discrimination in the church. John Brown stormed home with his family after the service, decided to protest the Franklin Mills

Congregationalist Church’s racism and discriminatory practices during the next evening’s services.

The congregation of the Franklin Mills Congregationalist Church was in for a shock the next night at the revival, when during the service John Brown stood and firmly stated loud enough for everyone to hear, “a discrimination has been made!” Brown and his family then stood up, walked to the back of the church, and led an African-American family to the Brown family pew, sat them in the Brown family pew. The Brown family then walked to the rear of the sanctuary and sat in the African-American’s pews in the rear of the church.

The pastor of the Franklin Mills Congregationalist Church stood stunned, and whispers and a stunned silence gripped the congregants. The pastor struggled through the rest of the service, and the congregants left the revival chattering and gossiping about John Brown’s radical action at the revival. The next day, a committee of deacons came to John Brown’s home to reprove him for his actions, but as John Brown, Junior, put it best, “they left with a different point of view.”

John Brown was a dedicated abolitionist and stood up for the rights of African-Americans in the face of the racism that existed in the north and south in 1830s in Kent, Ohio.  Today, no trace of John Brown’s tannery exists at John Brown Tannery Park in Kent, Ohio, but John Brown’s abolitionist crusade contributed to the end of slavery in the United States, and helped to start African-Americans on the road to equality.

John Brown believed in the equality of all of humanity in the eyes of God, and was willing to take a strong stand for his abolitionist beliefs no matter what the cost.




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Posted by admin on Sep 28 2011. Filed under Opinion. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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