Editor, New York Times:
It is long overdue that John Brown be granted a posthumous presidential pardon. Not only to clear his name, but also to remind the American people of what a national hero should be.
A hero does not free an enslaved people only to enslave them again by sharing in the era’s relentless and harmful racial prejudices.
A hero has the ability to look past popular opinion and find within himself what he knows to be the moral right. A hero has the strength to act on his beliefs and give his life to support his cause.
John brown must be saved from the loony bin of history. His raid on Harper’s Ferry was well thought out and only unsuccessful in that he did not accomplish his original goal, to inspire a slave revolt. His efforts helped start the war that ended slavery and for a time he was rightly esteemed as a hero, a martyr for a higher cause.
Brown’s rightful title as martyr, given to him by many great men of his day, was only taken away when his views were seen as too progressive. Yes, too progressive for an era ruled by segregation and Jim Crow Laws. We have moved passed this era of racism, and we should celebrate this and inspire an end to the discrimination facing us today by clearing John Brown’s name through a Presidential Pardon.
Even today we face discrimination and our politics are plagued with moral hypocrisy. It is time the American people are reminded that a true hero can envision a society in which all men are created equal and give his life to support his belief.