In 1855, Abolitionist John Brown, and two of his sons, had participated in the fighting against pro-slavery settlers in the state of Kansas. John Brown met with Frederick Douglas and Harriet Tubman, whom he referred to as “General Tubman”. Both abolitionists reinforced John Brown’s militant believes which would lead him to attempt a slave insurrection in the state of Virginia.
In 1859, John Brown took 20 followers to raid the United States Armory in order to procure weapons for a slave insurrection. General Robert Edward Lee was sent to the Fire Station, next to the armory, that John Brown and his militant followers were staying in. A shootout commenced and the group was forced to surrender. John Brown and some of his followers were hung for actions.
In 1861, during the Battle for Harper’s Ferry, the Union burnt down the armory, that John Brown had raided geo years before, to keep Confederate sympathizers from getting a hold of the weapons inside.
Congress declared, the area within the site of the former armory and John Brown’s Fort, as well as the areas that former President Thomas Jefferson and another areas that Lewis and Clark had once explored within the town, as part of a U.S. National Park.
On a hill near the John Brown Fort is a monument dedicated to the former abolitionist.
Here is a Smithsonian Magazine documentary on John Brown’s raid.