‘Debs at Harper’s Ferry’ from Appeal to Reason (Girard). No. 673. October 24, 1908.

The Red Special rolls into the hallowed ground of Harper’s Ferry during Debs’ 1908 Presidential campaign.

‘Debs at Harper’s Ferry’ from Appeal to Reason (Girard). No. 673. October 24, 1908.

Tears and Cheers When the Soul of John Brown Again Finds Utterance at the Historic Engine-house

Special Telegram to the Appeal.

Connellsville, Pa., Oct. 17.-A most dramatic scene has just occurred. The “Red Special” made a short stop at Harper’s Ferry. The comrades gathered about the monument which marked the spot where the old engine house was located, where John Brown was captured; and Gene, standing at the base of the monument, payed a tribute to the brave old warrior who made that spot sacred forever, fifty years ago. It was the most thrilling and dramatic scene of the entire trip. The comrades uncovered at the monument, as the impassioned tribute was delivered. The “Red Special” band played the Marseillaise and with never such thrilling appeal. The reports of John Brown’s rifles seemed to reverberate again in the surrounding hills. The Cumberland and the Potomac mingled their waters a few feet distant as the spirit of the abolitionist of forty years ago and the spirit of the Socialist of today mingled at the spot John Brown made immortal. There were tears and there were cheers. The spirit of the noble old warriors, transfigured the scene, and the memory of it will remain vivid and inspiring forever. Theodore Debs.

The Appeal to Reason was among the most important and widely read left papers in the United States. With a weekly run of over 550,000 copies by 1910, it remains the largest socialist paper in US history. Founded by utopian socialist and Ruskin Colony leader Julius Wayland it was published privately in Girard, Kansas from 1895 until 1922. The paper came from the Midwestern populist tradition to become the leading national voice in support of the Socialist Party of America in 1901. A ‘popular’ paper, the Appeal was Eugene Debs main literary outlet and saw writings by Upton Sinclair, Jack London, Mary “Mother” Jones, Helen Keller and many others.

PDF of full issue: https://www.marxists.org/history/usa/pubs/appeal-to-reason/081024-appealtoreason-w673.pdf

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