The New York Age (New York, New York), January 12, 1889
The Washington National Leader, of which Mr. Frederick Douglass Jr., is associate editor, recently wanted to know if it was not almost time that the colored people were doing something to perpetuate the memory of John Brown.
We thing not. We think John Brown’s memory is strong enough to perpetuate itself, even if all the Negroes in the universe were suddenly to become extinct. His memory is a part of the history of the government. It is embalmed in a thousand songs and stories. Your own father, Mr. Douglass, has written a lecture on the life of John Brown, which will help along the perpetuation of that great and good man. A German scholar has just given a brochure to the world, which competent critics declare a most judicial and thorough study of the character of John Brown ever produced.
No; John Brown’s memory stands no immediate prospect of vanishing into oblivion.
But there is another, a fore-runner of John Brown, if you please, who stands in more need of our copper pennies to be melted down to perpetuate his memory than John Brown. We refer of course to Nat. Turner, who was executed at Jerusalem, Southampton County, Virginia, for inciting and leading his fellow slaves to insurrection long before John Brown invaded Kansas and planned his unfortunate raid of Harpers Ferry.
Nat. Turner was a black hero. He preferred death to slavery. He ought to have a monument. White men care nothing for his memory. We should cherish it.
It is quite remarkable that whenever colored men move that somebody’s memory be perpetuated, that somebody’s memory is always a white man’s.
Young Mr. Douglass should mend his ways in this matter. His great father will some day have a monument which he will have eminently deserved and it will have to be built by the pennies of colored people. White people build monuments to white people.