John Brown to be remembered next weekend

Author Russell Banks, a Keene resident whose award-winning historical novel, Cloudplitter, relates the story of John Brown, will moderate a panel of activists and scholars to discuss modern slavery and what lessons can be taken from the actions of Brown.

At 4 p.m., Roy Innis, National President of Congress of Racial Equality, will lead observers along Old John Brown Road to lay a wreath at John Brown's grave. The Adirondack Community Church will host a tribute to Banks at 7:30 p.m.

Sunday, Dec. 6 is when a re-enactment of John Brown's Cortege will proceed across Essex County. At about noon, a casket representing Brown's will arrive at the Westport Marina following its journey north from West Virginia and across Lake Champlain.

The casket will be brought up to the Westport Heritage House, where, at 1 p.m., Banks will read from and discuss Cloudsplitter. Don Papson, president of the North Country Underground Railroad Historical Association, will then present new findings about Underground Railroad activity near John Brown's North Elba Farm. Tickets to these presentations are $15 and can be obtained through the Adirondack History Center Museum in Elizabethtown by calling 873-6466.

From Westport, the casket will travel to Elizabethtown, where, at 3 p.m., it is scheduled to be on display at the United Church of Christ on Court Street. The Adirondack History Center Museum, adjacent to the church, will be open to the public with restrooms available.

At 4:30 p.m., a candlelit procession will follow the symbolic coffin as it is brought from the church to the Old Essex County Courthouse, the same building where Brown's body was temporarily housed 150 years ago on its journey back to North Elba. There, the coffin will lay in state with an honor guard, and the public is welcome to come and pay their respects.

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