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John Brown birthday events this weekend

Sierra Club President Aaron Mair kneels at the grave of 19th-century abolitionist John Brown after laying a wreath with his daughter Olivia as part of John Brown Day May 6, 2017, at the John Brown Day State Historic Site in Lake Placid. (Enterprise photo — Antonio Olivero)

LAKE PLACID — Abolitionist John Brown was born on May 9, 1800, and every May for the last 21 years, John Brown Lives! has organized programs and events about progressive social movements of the past. This year will be no different, beginning with a virtual panel discussion this Saturday.

John Brown Day, normally a more formal affair held at this time of year, will be celebrated on July 17 this year, at the John Brown Farm State Historic Site outside Lake Placid.

Saturday’s panel discussion is the first in a season-long series to mark the 125th anniversary of New York state’s 1896 acquisition of the Adirondack home of abolitionists John and Mary Brown. Historian Margaret Washington, Brown descendent Alice Kesey Mecoy and writer Sandra Weber will share stories and insights that years of scholarly and genealogical research have uncovered. The live Zoom event will begin at 8 p.m. Preregister at https://bit.ly/3h6UtHh.

The following day, Sunday, the public is invited to participate in an informal celebration of Brown’s 221st birthday outdoors at the farm, 115 John Brown Road. All are encouraged to dress for comfort and warmth amid the unpredictable spring weather, and to come with a poem, message or song to share.

On May 19 from 7 to 8:30 p.m., JBL! will host a Zoom book talk with historian Clarence Jefferson Hall, a North Country native and author of “A Prison in the Woods: Environment and Incarceration in New York’s North Country.” The Bookstore Plus and the Keene Valley Library are partnering with John Brown Lives!. Preregister for this free event at https://bit.ly/3eY4VOt.

For the delight of children and families, JBL! teamed up with Lake Placid Free Library to provide a StoryWalk experience featuring Christian Robinson’s award-winning “You Matter.” Laminated pages of the book are staked in the ground and circle a wildflower meadow at the John Brown Farm. The grounds are open daily until dark.

Upcoming events later in the season include guided bird and butterfly watching with Larry Master; the installation of the Memorial Field for Black Lives; a July 4 program with Eugene Meyer, a Washington Post journalist and author of “Five for Freedom”; Aaron Mair reading from a first-person account of the Harper’s Ferry raid written by the only Black raider to survive; and the folk duo Magpie.

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