Personally, I found our trip to Harpers Ferry to be one of the most moving of any of our trips thus far. With informational signs lining the roads, historical buildings down the sides of the road, and a wonderful tour guide, Dennis Frye, we learned not only about John Brown’s raid with his army of 22 men, but also about the impacts slavery had on the the southern economy, the lives of enslaved individuals, and our modern society.
Right next to the Shenandoah and Potomac rivers, one can look out through the trees or over the railing to tree-covered mountains. However, natural beauty is not all that the Ferry has in store; its history reaches far earlier than 1859, with men such as Meriwether Lewis (of the Lewis and Clark expeditions) and Thomas Jefferson having walked the trails. If one is willing to walk, not far from the main plot of the Ferry, one can find Jefferson’s rock.
Dennis Frye, National History Academy’s tour guide through Harpers Ferry, shows not only an interest in the history he speaks about, but true and genuine passion in his voice and the way he speaks about the topic, clearly moved by the history while still understanding the nuances between how different individuals may view the legacy of Mr. Brown. Whether you view the man as a martyr or a terrorist; a hero or a villain, there is no doubt that this history of the ground you walk on in Harpers Ferry is moving for any individual.