Harpers Ferry National Historical Park, spreading across three states, sits at the confluence of the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers. The region was visited by George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, the latter declaring it "perhaps one of the most stupendous scenes in Nature". It encompasses the town of Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, where John Brown began an armed abolitionist uprising against the United States government, believing that was the only way to overthrow slavery in the country. His arrest and subsequent trial gripped the nation at the time, drawing commentary both in favor of and against his aims and methods.
One notable figure who weighed in (and one of the few who stood resolutely behind John Brown) was Henry David Thoreau who, in 1859, addressed the the citizens of Concord, Massachusetts with an essay now referred to as "A Plea for Captain John Brown". In it, he voiced his support for Brown, saying "It was his peculiar doctrine that a man has a perfect right to interfere by force with the slaveholder, in order to rescue the slave. I agree with him."
Thoreau's plea was ultimately unsuccessful: John Brown was hanged in December of the same year. But barely three years afterwards, President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, officially freeing more than three million slaves in the country.
These covers feature a photograph of a field in Harpers Ferry, with an old cannon on the grass, surrounded by mountains. I processed the image to have the feel of an antique painting. It sits atop a shadow, and the line by Thoreau quoted above, in his plea for John Brown's exoneration, is printed in the fashion of a raised plaque.
A U.S. Flag coil stamp (Scott #5053) is positioned in the lower-right, and is cancelled with a beautiful postmark commemorating the issuance of the Harpers Ferry National Historical Park Quarter by the U.S. Mint, from Harpers Ferry, WV, on June 8, 2016 – the day of the quarter's launch.