Here on the scene of John Brown's martyrdom we reconsecrate ourselves, our honor, our property to the final emancipation of the race which John Brown died to make free? Thank God for John Brown!... and all the hallowed dead who died for freedom!
W.E.B. Du Bois, Niagara Movement general secretary and NAACP founding member
On August 17, 1906, members of the Niagara Movement walked silently past where you are standing. One of the first modern civil rights organizations in America, the Niagara Movement fought for racial equality and political representation at all social levels. Its members' efforts laid the foundation for creating the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in 1909. Niagara participants came here to the site of John Brown's Fort to honor Brown, who died to end slavery.
Black scholar Dr. Benjamin Quarles described their arrival: "As they neared their destination they formed a procession, single file, led by Owen M. Waller, a physician from Brooklyn. Defying stone and stubble, Waller took off his shoes and socks and walked barefoot as if treading on holy ground." Other members followed suit and together they walked barefoot to the fort. As they circled the fort they sang verses of John Brown's Body and The Battle Hymn of the Republic.