CLEVELAND, OH – Cindy Marsh-Suchan can trace her bloodline to the very founding of the United States of America through an ancestor named Peter Brown whose arrival in North America is dated between 1565 and 1625. One of his much later grandson’s born in 1800 was named John Brown the legendary abolitionist of Harper’s Ferry fame. His abolitionist affiliations include Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman.
Cindy Marsh-Suchan knows this information from stories she’s heard within her family. Her mother, Martha Marsh, shared the historic lineage with a reporter for the Columbus Dispatch in 2019. That year Hudson, Ohio’s mayor was honoring her for the annual contribution she made to the community through the American Legion. Martha Marsh was also a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution since her ancestors fought in it.
Brown was tried in court and hanged in 1859 for leading a group of American Negro “soldiers” to Harper’s Ferry, Virginia where they wanted to take control of the weapons at a United States Army base. The goal was to wage a Haitian-style war for liberation.
Americans, today, know nothing about the “revolts” in the nations and states that enslaved Africans stolen from their lands and forced to work for free in North and South America and the surrounding islands. Brown was raised under the influence of the revolt Toussaint L’Overture led in Haiti 1871; as well as those like the Stono Rebellion in South Carolina in 1739 that caused state legislatures in the original 13 colonies to enact “Black Codes.” The slave revots were terrifying to Caucasians who realized in the southern states that they were becoming outnumbered.
L’Overture recognized that African Haitians outnumbered their enslavers by more than 40 to 1 so he sent the “world powers” of England, France and Spain a message before he defeated them. The nation’s been punished ever since. Below are but a few of the words he shared with Jean Jacque Dessalines, another African Haitian general who joined him in battle.
“…We have no other resource than destruction and flame. Bear in mind that the soil bathed with out sweat must not furnish our enemies with the smallest aliment. Tear up the roads with shot; throw corpses and horses into all the fountains; burn and annihilate everything, in order that those who have come to reduce us to slavery may have before their eyes the image of hell which they deserve.”
Historically-deficient mainstream writers who can’t think past the Civil Rights movements of the 1960’s, and only quote the “content of the character and not the color of my skin” line from Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr’s “I have a dream” speech, don’t know there was nothing “passive” about the Africans or American Negroes enslaved by the English, French, Spanish and Portuguese. Plantation revolts that led to crops being burned and Caucasian enslavers being killed in America like they were and are in South Africa struck fear in Caucasians who out of that fear knew they had to “let God’s people go.”
To abolitionist-minded American Negroes John Brown was a hero. To the local governments whose citizens were trying to solidy themselves into a nation in the slave states he was a terrorist. That’s what Brown would be called today. When Brown met with American Negro Frederick Douglass to support his armed confrontation for liberation he was advised not to move forward. American Negro Harriet Tubman offered him some soldiers.
Lt. Col. Bernard Kemter was asked to modify his speech when he was invited by American Legion Lodge #464 to offer his thoughts about “Memorial Day” celebrated, annually, on May 30th. According to published reports, Marsh-Suchan and James Garrison told him to cut language that didn’t fit the theme of recognizing soldiers from the city of Hudson who died in our nation’s wars beginning only with World War 1.
For some reason “pre-approval” appears to have been a request made by Hudson American Legion Lodge officials. Kemter’s thoughts as an American soldier weren’t limited to World War 1 as Hudson’s citizens were also involved in the Civil War in free state Ohio.
Kemter didn’t get the recommended changes and when he asked a “city official” for advice was told to deliver his words unedited. As a retired American soldier he’d served to defend our democracy and its “free speech” principles. No one should tell him what he should say and doing so was ignorant arrogance. So Kemter spoke.
Today is Memorial Day. This is the day that we pay homage to all those who served in the military and didn’t come home. This is not Veterans Day, it’s not a celebration, it is a day of solemn contemplation over the cost of our freedom. Memorial Day was born out of necessity. After the American Civil War, a battered United States was faced with the task of burying and honoring the 600,000 to 800,000 Union and Confederate soldiers who had died in the single bloodiest military conflict in American history. The first national commemoration of Memorial Day was held in Arlington National Cemetery on May 30, 1868, where both Union and Confederate soldiers were buried.
Several towns and cities across America claim to have observed their own earlier versions of Memorial Day or ‘Decoration Day’ as early as 1866. (The earlier name is derived from the fact that decorating graves was and remains a central activity of Memorial Day.) But it wasn’t until a remarkable discovery in a dusty Harvard University archive [in] the late 1990s that historians learned about a Memorial Day commemoration organized by a group of freed black slaves less than a month after the Confederacy surrendered in 1865.
It is at the point where he mentioned Marsh-Suchan’s ancestor, John Brown, that she or Garrison cut the sound to Kemter’s microphone. That’s what she told the Beacon Journal. The retired soldier thought technical difficulties had silenced him but it wasn’t the equipment.
Garrison is an attorney and his last name is the same as another legendary abolitionist and journalist, William Lloyd Garrison. It’s not known if he’s a descendant.
The smallest incidents today are becoming blown up thanks to the cancel culture, social media and click bait journalism where millions of “views” generates advertising cash for online publications and bloggers. The more sensational the story the more they earn. Headlines today are intentionally created to shock online news searchers into reading.
Brian Timpone was exposed in 2012 for hiring writers from the Phillipines and India and paying them $7 to $12 a story to write about events and politics in local communities in America through a company he owned called Journatic. Timpone’s Journatic’s foreign writers used fake American names as bylines. The stories they created were sold through Journatic to major American publications like the Chicago Tribune.
Today he controls 1300 “news” sites and can use the cheap stories he’s getting from overseas writers on all of them in some variation or the other. It’s why Americans searching for news see headlines repeated the same way over and over again. Imagine reading a story about your local council meeting written by an Indian blogger who wrote what they heard, with no perspective, on a YouTube video posted by local elected officials.
Lt. Col. Kemter finished his speech and the click bait drama followed. Calls for Marsh-Suchan and Garrison’s resignations came almost immediately from people across the globe with no connection to Hudson.
Where former Hudson Mayor Dave Basil honored the “Marsh” family its current mayor, Craig Schubert, denounced Marsh-Suchan and Garrison. So did the Ohio American Legion. Suddenly, the descendant of the most feared anti-slavery American citizen in history is now a racist.
For added emphasis Marsh-Suchan is a descendant of Leonard Case, Sr. whose family name is behind Case Western Reserve University. More specifically, Case Sr. worked for the Connecticut Land Company that identified and began selling the “Western Reserve” in northern Ohio. He was born in 1786.
The Western Reserve is 3.3 million acres of land that borders Pennsylvania and extends to Sandusky in Northern Ohio so all of his in Cleveland, Akron, Warren, Youngstown, Lorain and more live on land sold by one of Marsh-Suchan’s ancestors. No one condemning Marsh-Suchan appears to have spoken with her, without the accusations that she’s a racist, to learn more about her thoughts on Kemter’s speech.
Hudson is as Caucasion as East Cleveland and East Saint Louis, Illinois are among the nation’s most American Negro populated cities at 96 and 99.9 percent respectively. So the pictures of Hudson’s 1970 graduating class that features Marsh-Suchan and her classmates is as Caucasian as Shaw High School is as “White” as the East Cleveland school is “Black.” She and I were raised during a period of “Segregation.”
My 1st through 8th grade teachers at Webster Elementary School in East Saint Louis, Illinois were all American Negroes. Four females and four males. I didn’t have Caucasian teacher, a Russian Jew, until the 4th grade for half a year. Two Russian Jewish females were instructors in the 7th and 8th grade, but for one class for an hour during home room.
The rest of my educators were American Negroes. There’s a huge difference between “segregation” and “racism” from an American perspective for those of us with the longest ancestral roots to our nation.
As Caucasian as Hudson is it appears from a friendly Tweet in 2017 that Marsh-Suchan made a positive impression on an American Negro named Derek Cluse who seemed close enough to wish her happy birthday. He’s currently the chief financial officer for the Council for Economic Opportunities of Greater Cleveland (CEOGC). He’s the former business manager for the Hudson Municipal School District. He and Marsh-Suchan appear to have been co-workers. There is more to this woman than how she’s being portrayed.
Not knowing his microphone had been cut, Lt. Col. Kemter encouraged those in the audience who wanted to hear the rest of it to come forward. Some did and he finished.
More importantly than whether Charleston’s Decoration Day was the first, is the attention Charleston’s Black community paid to the nearly 260 Union troops who died at the site. For two weeks prior to the ceremony, former slaves and Black workmen exhumed the soldiers’ remains from a hastily dug mass grave behind the racetrack’s grandstand and gave each soldier a proper burial. They also constructed a fence to protect the site with an archway at the entrance that read “Martyrs of the Race Course.”
The dead prisoners of war at the racetrack must have seemed especially worthy of honor to the former slaves. Just as the former slaves had, the dead prisoners had suffered imprisonment and mistreatment while held captive by white southerners.
Not surprisingly, many white southerners who had supported the Confederacy, including a large swath of white Charlestonians, did not feel compelled to spend a day decorating the graves of their former enemies. It was often the African American southerners who perpetuated the holiday in the years immediately following the Civil War.
African Americans across the South clearly helped shape the ceremony in its early years. Without African Americans, the ceremonies would have had far fewer in attendance in many areas, thus making the holiday less significant.
My generation grew up listening to the famous radio personality Paul Harvey. Paul would say at the end of his broadcast, “And now you know the rest of the story.” And now you know the rest of the story about the origin of Memorial Day.
If you visited the moving tribute to the fallen heroes from Hudson on what we old timers call the village green, all the men shared this oath and obligation:
“I do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.”
It is a gift or pledge of their lives to the United States of America. That oath is a major part of who we are in the military. It forms the bedrock of what we stand for and are willing to fight for.
The oath fully embraces what we do and we let them guide our military service. I distinctly remember being administered that oath 56 years ago, almost as if it was just yesterday. I was in Cleveland going through my preparations to enlist in the U.S. Army. I stood in a room with at least 40 or 50 other people, all standing at what we called “attention,” facing the front of the room. An officer entered and said he was going to administer the Oath of Enlistment to all of us. At this point, I had never heard the words so I had no idea as to what we were going to say.
We raised our right hands, as he asked us to, and began to recite after him. It seemed as if time stood still, because I mentally paused and reflected on the words I was repeating. I thought to myself this is not a joke — this is real.
As soon as he had administered the Oath of Enlistment, I immediately felt a strong sense of patriotism. I felt as if I was invincible. Don’t laugh. I’m not sure why, but I was young, I really felt a sense of belonging to something bigger than myself.
I thought, I could very well die. I would be defending the framework and the beliefs of a nation. I would do so against all enemies meaning I might have to fight to save my life, or another’s, or our way of life. I might have to do it far removed from the safety of our country — but the country would be safe, or so I thought.
I chose to join the military and part of making that official is the oath — the promise we make to be a part of this elite group of Americans. We made that oral commitment so all will know what our country means to us and what we will do to defend it, its values, and the right to our way of life.
We are here today to pay tribute to those who freely took this oath and ultimately gave their lives. Part of the Memorial Day celebration is a period of silence and reflection at 3 p.m. Please join with me at that time in remembering these young men whom I personally knew that were a part of my generation who answered their country’s calling:
Marine Corp 2d Lt. Ronald Davidson. Marine Corp 1st Lt. Jerry Gorney. Navy Commander John D. Peace, III. Air Force Captain Joseph Resato. Army Sergeant Armor Wilcox, III
From Peninsula were two people who attended Hudson High School: Army Sergeant Joseph Sobczak. Army Captain Thomas Shafer.
I am a soldier. I do not choose the time or the place. Convenience is not in my vocabulary. I stand at the ready. When my orders come, I go. I am a soldier. I may not see a child born, A wife, a husband, parents, friends, I may never see them again. But willingly and with conviction I go. I am a soldier. The job that I’m given to do. I will do even if it costs me my life. I will do it. I am a soldier. A car approaches, a bicycle, a cart. I fix my stare and hone my senses. I have but a short time to take action. But I show restraint, it is part of my job.
I am a soldier. I repair hospitals, schools and homes. I help rebuild smiles for people that I’ve never met before. This too is part of my job. I am a soldier. I gaze at those around me. In a foreign land I see a child. A wife a husband, parents, friends. Oh how I wish I were home. Oh how I wish they were mine. I am a soldier, Yes, take me home, but only when the job is done. Only when the job is done. I am a soldier. Thank you for your participation today. God bless you and God bless America.
“John Brown’s Body” as Lt. Col. Kemter stated is a real song soldiers from the North sang while marching to fight. Americans rooted in our culture know its “Glory, glory hallelujah” chorus. The aliens and immigrants don’t. Neither do the “Millenials” and “Generation X’ers” as the two groups now dominate American news outlets.
Those of us raised on American television when loyal Americans controlled our media and produced feature films know it’s lyrics from movies we’ve seen. It’s one of the American Negro classic songs the legendary attorney, athlete, singer, actor and founder of the Council on African Affairs, that’s now the African Union, Paul Robeson, kept alive.
John Brown is a “huge” figure in Northeast Ohio and it’s doubtful that the majority of Hudson residents know Marsh-Suchan to be one of his descendants. It’s not even a fact about her covered by any of the media outlets sharing “cut off the microphone” stories that portray her and Garrison as racists.
Celebrity creates unnecessary conversations with opinionated people; and not all opinions about a family member she never knew are welcomed. Her reasons for not wanting Lt. Col. Kemter to reference her legendary abolitionist ancestor might have been personal that had nothing to do with a disregard for the contributions American Negroes made to this nation’s history.
John Brown’s last words before he was hanged were as follows:
I, John Brown, am now quite certain that the crimes of this guilty land will never be purged away but with blood. I had, as I now think, vainly flattered myself that without very much bloodshed it might be done.
Frederick Douglass like the majority of American Negroes and Caucasians in America with roots to the original 13 colonies was of mixed-blood ancestry. He wasn’t trying to kill “white” people. He was trying to bridge the communications gap.
Like so many of us with mixed-blood ancestry, we prefer unity instead of division with the members of our extended families.