This past Sunday, February 5, there was a gathering of folks from near and far who came to attend a ribbon cutting ceremony and hear about Harper’s Ferry’s role as it pertains to American History, and in particular African American history. Local historian and well-known member of the Jefferson County community, George Rutherford, gave an interesting talk about Martin Delany, who was born in Charlestown, Virginia in 1812. There are few books written about him which may be explained partially because his papers were destroyed in a fire Wilberforce University of Ohio in 1865. The Harper’s Ferry Historical Association Bookstore has books about him.
In addition to his being trained as a physician, he achieved the rank of major in the United States Army during the Civil War. He co-edited the newspaper The North Star with Frederick Douglass. In apparent response to Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Delany wrote his own serialized novel entitled, Blake, or the Huts of America in The Anglo-African Magazine, and later in The Monthly Anglo-African Magazine. His achievements are too numerous to show here, but his life warrants further study.
In addition to several Park Service employees, officials from the Jefferson County Commission were there along with local businessman (his office is next to Steam’s gallery!) and candidate for the 66th District in the West Virginia House of Delegates, John Maxey.
As usual, the sherbet punch and cookies were excellent!
The exhibit, Running to Freedom: Fighting for Freedom, is open to the public and is located on the 2nd floor of the John Brown Museum.