Newly-released book tells of rich musical ties to abolitionist John Brown’s Maryland farm

West Virginia

HARPERS FERRY, W.Va. (WDVM) — Nineteenth-century historians are well aware that West Virginia is where John Brown led his anti-slavery uprising in Harpers Ferry, a rebellion for which he was hanged in Charles Town, Jefferson County.

Now, a local historian has published a book about the Maryland farm where John Brown plotted his rebellion. According to writer-historian Ed Maliskas, a fraternal organization called the Black Elks purchased the farm after World War II.

Local entrepreneur John Bishop, active with the organization, told the author the farm became a retreat for many wildly popular modern-day rhythm & blues and soul music performers.

“Mr. Bishop booked in the giants of R&B,” said Maliskas, “and some of those artists would include James Brown, Ike & Tina Turner, Ray Charles, Dionne Warwick, Aretha Franklin, the Charelles, the Drfiters, BB King, Chuck Berry…”

The recently released book by Maliskas, John Brown to James Brown, carries the subtitle “the little farm where liberty budded, blossomed & boogied.”

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