A biographical protest folk song from 1971 about the white revolutionary abolitionist who organized the 1859 raid on Harper's Ferry.
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.