On this day, December 2, in 1859 abolitionist John Brown was hanged just six weeks after a failed attempt to instigate a slave rebellion in Harpers Ferry, Virginia (now West Virginia). On his way to the gallows Brown handed a letter to a guard that read, “I, John Brown, am now quite certain that the crimes of this guilty land can never be purged away but with blood.” His death made him a martyr to the abolitionist movement and helped ignite the War of the Slaveholders Rebellion in 1861. Brown’s actions created a since of paranoia among white southerners that just two years later lead to secession and war. These chain reactions to overthrow a slavocracy or maintain human bondage in the US ultimately lead to the manumission of nearly 4 million African-Americans held in bondage and sparked the end of legalized slavery in the United States. John Brown severed the Gordian knot of American chattel slavery, that body day in October when he and his raiders stormed Hapers Ferry. While his plot failed, his dream became a reality, over 200,000 Black men served in the Union Army fighting to end slavery and hacking away at the Gordian knot of chattel slavery.