A sheet of lyrics to “Old John Brown: A Song for Every Southern Man,” ca. 1861.
“Old John Brown: A Song for Every Southern Man,” was written from a southern pro-slavery perspective. The term “Old Ossawattomie Brown” in the song’s chorus refers to John Brown’s abolitionist activism in the Kansas Territory (also known as “Bleeding Kansas”) in the mid-1850s. Note that the word “niggers” appears in the chorus and the word “darkie” appears in the last verse.