Old John Brown was a white man who lived long ago And all the slave-owners called John Brown a foe He went to Harper’s Ferry and there he took his stand And word of his great deed did spread across the land.
And Jesus was a peasant who worked in the fields And he sided with the poor and performed miracles The powerful rich men, they ordered him dead But words of his preachings did spread across the land.
Now Old John Brown he read from the Bible each day And he acted according to what Jesus said They hung him for working to set free some slaves The law found him guilty and John Brown they killed.
Now all of the leaders of this brutal land Are trying to make like they are righteous men But people in bondage I know you can see The folks who are righteous are as red as me.
So let’s push the process as fast as we can And open the prisons and confront the wicked men We’ll put them in hospitals, if they don’t resist But if they attack us, we’ll use self-defense.
The Old John Brown protest folk song was written in the Spring of 1971, when I was living in a slum apartment in the Bronx, near Belmont Avenue (where Dion and the Belmonts used to hang out). Later in the 1970s, the now-deceased Hollywood screenwriter who wrote the screenplay for the classic Salt of the Earth movie, Michael Wilson, wrote a screenplay adaptation of Truman Nelson’s 1973 book, The Old Man: John Brown at Harper’s Ferry, which Wilson titled Raid On Harper’s Ferry. Unfortunately, none of the Democratic Party-oriented Hollywood liberals who often help determine which screenplays get produced and distributed by Hollywood were apparently eager to bring the Raid On Harper’s Ferry movie to the screen. In the early part of the 21st-century, however, I found a copy of Wilson’s great script for Raid On Harper’s Ferry among the now-deceased Truman Nelson’s papers; and I spent a day reading through the screenplay for what would be an exciting, emotionally moving and inspiring movie, if it could ever get produced.
Next Posting On 9/26/07: Review of Enemies Of The State: Interviews with Marilyn Buck,David Gilbertand Laura Whitehorn pamphlet