Heyward Shepherd Monument Vandalized With Feces
Harpers Ferry is home to some incredible history. It was the site of abolitionist John Brown’s uprising against slavery and fell to an impressive siege laid by Confederate Gen. Stonewall Jackson who captured 12,000 Union prisoners.
Monuments decorate the historic downtown area mark the locations of these pivotal moments in American history.
It’s also home to an interesting monument dedicated to freemen and slaves from the Civil War Era who chose to remain loyal to the Southern cause and was provided to Harpers Ferry by the Daughters of the Confederacy and the Sons of Confederate Veterans.
The Heyward Shepherd monument commemorates the life and death of who Southerners deemed to be a loyal freeman, who first-hand accounts describe as having refused to join a slave uprising. Shepherd, ironically, was the first man to die during John Brown’s uprising.
A black man, freed from servitude, Shepherd was at the railroad that evening in order to help search for a missing watchman.
Now, an untarnished monument dedicated to the memory of the man who is responsible for Heyward’s death overlooks the feces smeared tablet that commemorates his memory.
He was loved by the community and his contemporaries described him as trustful and pleasant.
Unfortunately, this piece of history was just recently vandalized by some Leftist lowlife miscreant who felt fit to rub feces all across the stone tablet.
Here’s a bit on Shepherd’s perspective on relations between the races just before his death and his own explanation for his presence on the railroad that fateful night:
In the aftermath, some writers did not hesitate to speculate about or elaborate on Shepherd’s role in the raid. Immediately after the raid, one newspaper reported Shepherd was told of John Brown’s purpose but refused to join the raiders, thus suggesting his refusal to heed their orders showed his opposition to their goals. In a different vein, years later, a former resident of Harpers Ferry suggested Shepherd may have helped the raiders initially but later changed his mind when the danger and likelihood of failure became clear. Shepherd’s deathbed explanation that he went to the bridge in search of a missing railroad watchman suggests he was shot by men he did not recognize and whose purpose he did not know.
Whether Shepherd knew who his attackers were, whether he conspired with them before the fact, or whether he was completely ignorant of their motives is less important than how Shepherd was perceived by those who kept his name from being forgotten after his death. When several militia groups and white citizens accompanied Shepherd’s body through Winchester to its burial place in October 1859, they no doubt did so because they wished to honor publicly a black man they believed had knowingly refused to join Brown’s war on slavery. In reporting on the funeral, the local newspaper in Shepherd’s hometown underscored Shepherd’s race when it specifically reminded readers that Brown’s first victim was a black man.
After the Civil War, H. N. and William W. B. Gallaher, father and son editors of the Virginia Free Press, a weekly newspaper published in Charles Town, a few miles from Harpers Ferry, similarly recognized Shepherd’s symbolic importance. For decades, the Virginia Free Press challenged favorable comments on Brown by reminding readers of the men killed at Harpers Ferry by Brown’s raiders. The editors found Shepherd particularly appealing and periodically pointed out that a black man was the first casualty of the raid.
Just a week ago it remained untarnished. Today, it is streaked with brown waste after weeks of Tweets from out-of-state liberals who called for its removal.