Gabriel's Rebellion tells the dramatic story of what was perhaps the most extensive slave conspiracy in the history of the American South. Douglas Egerton illuminates the complex motivations that underlay two related Virginia slave revolts: the first, in 1800, led by the slave known as Gabriel; and the second, called the 'Easter Plot,' instigated in 1802 by one of his followers. Although Gabriel has frequently been portrayed as a messianic, Samson-like figure, Egerton shows that he was a literate and highly skilled blacksmith whose primary goal was to destroy the economic hegemony of the 'merchants,' the only whites he ever identified as his enemies. According to Egerton, the social, political, and economic disorder of the Revolutionary era weakened some of the harsh controls that held slavery in place during colonial times. Emboldened by these conditions, a small number of literate slaves--most of them highly skilled artisans--planned an armed insurrection aimed at destroying slavery in Virginia. The intricate scheme failed, as did the Easter Plot that stemmed from it, and Gabriel and many of his followers were hanged. By placing the revolts within the broader context of the volatile political currents of the day, Egerton challenges the conventional understanding of race, class, and politics in the early days of the American republic.
"Nathaniel ""Nat"" Turner was a black slave who led a rebellion in the American South in the summer of 1831. A charismatic leader, Turner gathered about 75 slaves to his cause. By the time the insurrection was suppressed, more than 100 were dead, and Turner was hanged. In the aftermath, laws were passed to prevent the education of slaves and a deeper schism opened between abolitionists and slaveholders. The rebellion was truly a harbinger of the bloody events to come. This significant story of pre-Civil War America is the focus of this comprehensive volume, a valuable support for social studies curricula."
A major contribution to our understanding of slavery in the early republic, Deliver Us from Evil illuminates the white South's twisted and tortured efforts to justify slavery, focusing on the period from the drafting of the federal constitution in 1787 through the age of Jackson. Drawing heavily on primary sources, including newspapers, government documents, legislative records, pamphlets, and speeches, Lacy K. Ford recaptures the varied and sometimes contradictory ideas and attitudes held by groups of white southerners as they tried to square slavery with their democratic ideals. He excels at conveying the political, intellectual, economic, and social thought of leading white southerners, vividly recreating the mental world of the varied actors and capturing the vigorous debates over slavery. He also shows that there was not one antebellum South but many, and not one southern white mindset but several, with the debates over slavery in the upper South quite different in substance from those in the deep South. In the upper South, where tobacco had fallen into comparative decline by 1800, debate often centered on how the area might reduce its dependence on slave labor and "whiten" itself, whether through gradual emancipation and colonization or the sale of slaves to the cotton South. During the same years, the lower South swirled into the vortex of the "cotton revolution," and that area's whites lost all interest in emancipation, no matter how gradual or fully compensated. An ambitious, thought-provoking, and highly insightful book, Deliver Us from Evil makes an important contribution to the history of slavery in the United States, shedding needed light on the white South's early struggle to reconcile slavery with its Revolutionary heritage.
Winner of the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for History "Impressively researched and beautifully crafted…a brilliant account of slavery in Virginia during and after the Revolution." —Mark M. Smith, Wall Street Journal Frederick Douglass recalled that slaves living along Chesapeake Bay longingly viewed sailing ships as "freedom’s swift-winged angels." In 1813 those angels appeared in the bay as British warships coming to punish the Americans for declaring war on the empire. Over many nights, hundreds of slaves paddled out to the warships seeking protection for their families from the ravages of slavery. The runaways pressured the British admirals into becoming liberators. As guides, pilots, sailors, and marines, the former slaves used their intimate knowledge of the countryside to transform the war. They enabled the British to escalate their onshore attacks and to capture and burn Washington, D.C. Tidewater masters had long dreaded their slaves as "an internal enemy." By mobilizing that enemy, the war ignited the deepest fears of Chesapeake slaveholders. It also alienated Virginians from a national government that had neglected their defense. Instead they turned south, their interests aligning more and more with their section. In 1820 Thomas Jefferson observed of sectionalism: "Like a firebell in the night [it] awakened and filled me with terror. I considered it at once the knell of the union." The notes of alarm in Jefferson's comment speak of the fear aroused by the recent crisis over slavery in his home state. His vision of a cataclysm to come proved prescient. Jefferson's startling observation registered a turn in the nation’s course, a pivot from the national purpose of the founding toward the threat of disunion. Drawn from new sources, Alan Taylor's riveting narrative re-creates the events that inspired black Virginians, haunted slaveholders, and set the nation on a new and dangerous course.
Slavery remains one of the United States’ most troubling failings and its complexities have shaped American ideas about race, economics, politics, and the press since the first days of settlement. Brian Gabrial’s The Press and Slavery in America, 1791–1859 examines those intersections at times when the nation and the institution of slavery were most stressed, namely when slavesrevolted or conspired to revolt. Such events frightened white, slave-owning society to its core and forced public discussions about slavery at times when supporters of the peculiar institution preferred them to be silent. Gabrial closely reads the mainstream press during the antebellum years, identifying shifts in public opinion about slavery and changes in popular constructions of slaves and other black Americans, a group voiceless and nearly invisible in the nation’s major newspapers. He reveals how political intransigence rooted in racism and economics set the country on a perilous trajectory toward rebellion and self-destruction. This volume examines news accounts of five major slave rebellions or conspiracies: Gabriel Prosser’s 1800 Virginia slave conspiracy; the 1811 Louisiana slave revolt; Denmark Vesey’s 1822 slave conspiracy in Charleston, South Carolina; Nat Turner’s 1831 Southampton County, Virginia, slave revolt; and John Brown’s 1859 Harper’s Ferry raid. Gabrial situates these stories within a historical and contextual framework that juxtaposes the transformation of the press into a powerful mass media with the growing politicaldivide over slavery, illustrating how two American cultures, both asserting claims to founding America, devolved into enemies over slavery. What the nineteenth century press reveals in this book are discourses—ways of thinking and expression—that have retained resonance in contemporary race relations and American politics. They connect to ideas about the press and technology, changing journalistic practice, and, importantly, the destruction wrought by the dysfunction of the nation’s political parties.
Historical markers by Henrico County (Va.). Division of Recreation and Parks
The plans for a large slave rebellion in the Richmond area in 1800, orchestrated by a literate enslaved blacksmith named Gabriel, leaked out before they could be executed, and he and twenty-five other enslaved people were hanged. In reaction to the plot, the Virginia and other legislatures passed restrictions on free blacks, as well as on the education, movement, and hiring out of the enslaved. Although Gabriel's conspiracy is well known among historians, documents relating to it have remained relatively inaccessible. In Gabriel’s Conspiracy, Philip J. Schwarz offers a valuable selection of the documents discovered to date. Together with Michael Nicholls’s complementary book, Whispers of Rebellion (Virginia), these volumes offer a complete account of the quashed slave conspiracy.
Episodes of slave rebellions such as Nat Turner's are central to speculations on the trajectory of black history and the goal of black spiritual struggles. Using fiction, history, and oral poetry drawn from the United States, the Caribbean, and Africa, this book analyzes how writers reinterpret episodes of historical slave rebellion to conceptualize their understanding of an ideal "master-less" future. The texts range from Frederick Douglass's The Heroic Slave and Alejo Carpentier's The Kingdom of this World to Yoruba praise poetry and novels by Nigerian writers Adebayo Faleti and Akinwumi Isola. Each text reflects different "national" attitudes toward the historicity of slave rebellions that shape the ways the texts are read. This is an absorbing book about the grip of slavery and rebellion on modern black thought.
Slaves fought against their subhuman treatment in a myriad of ways, from passive resistance to armed insurrection. This encyclopedia details how slaves struggled against their bondage, highlights key revolts, and delves into important cultural and religious ideas that nurtured and fed slaves' hunger for freedom.
"Pearson also discusses the social and cultural life of Charleston in the early nineteenth century, the political and religious ideas that inspired Vesey and his followers to plan the city's destruction, and, finally, the impact that the conspiracy and its aftermath had on the lives of South Carolinians, both black and white."--BOOK JACKET.
An ambitious but abortive plan to revolt that ended in the conviction and hanging of over two dozen men, Gabriel’s Conspiracy of 1800 sought nothing less than to capture the capital city of Richmond and end slavery in Virginia. Whispers of Rebellion draws on recent scholarship and extensive archival material to provide the clearest view yet of this fascinating chapter in the history of slavery—and to question much about the case that has been accepted as fact. In his examination of the slave Gabriel and his group of insurgents, Michael Nicholls focuses on the neighborhood of the Brook, north of Richmond, as the plot’s locus, revealing the area’s economic and familial ties, the geographic proximity of the key conspirators, and how their contacts allowed their plan to spread across three counties and into the cities of Richmond and Petersburg. Nicholls explores underdocumented aspects of the conspiracy, such as the participants’ recruitment and motives, showing them to be less ideologically driven than previously supposed. The author also looks at the state’s swift and brutal response, and argues persuasively that, rather than the coalition between blacks and whites that has been described in other accounts, the participants were all slaves or free blacks, suffering under an oppressive white population and willing to die for their freedom.
"This book narrates the history of the executions--hangings, and during the Civil War also firing squads--that formed a large part of Richmond, Virginia's entertainment picture. Revulsion slowly mounted until the introduction of the electric chair. The history has a cast of unusual characters--the condemned, the crime victims, family members, and the executioners"--Provided by publisher.
An 1800 insurrection planned by a literate slave known as "Prosser’s Gabriel" inspires a historical novel following one extraordinary man’s life. In a time of post-Revolutionary fervor in Richmond, Virginia, an imposing twenty-four-year-old slave named Gabriel, known for his courage and intellect, plotted a rebellion involving thousands of African- American freedom seekers armed with refashioned pitchforks and other implements of Gabriel’s blacksmith trade. The revolt would be thwarted by a confluence of fierce weather and human betrayal, but Gabriel retained his dignity to the end. History knows little of Gabriel’s early life. But here, author Gigi Amateau imagines a childhood shaped by a mother’s devotion, a father’s passion for liberation, and a friendship with a white master’s son who later proved cowardly and cruel. She gives vibrant life to Gabriel’s love for his wife-to-be, Nanny, a slave woman whose freedom he worked tirelessly, and futilely, to buy. Interwoven with original documents, this poignant, illuminating novel gives a personal face to a remarkable moment in history.
"An original study of monuments to the civil rights movement and African American history that have been erected in the U.S. South over the past three decades, this powerful work explores how commemorative structures have been used to assert the presence of black Americans in contemporary Southern society. The author cogently argues that these public memorials, ranging from the famous to the obscure, have emerged from, and speak directly to, the region's complex racial politics since monument builders have had to contend with widely varied interpretations of the African American past as well as a continuing presence of white supremacist attitudes and monuments."--Book jacket.
A Noble Fight examines the metaphors and meanings behind the African American appropriation of the culture, ritual, and institution of freemasonry in navigating the contested domain of American democracy. Combining cultural and political theory with extensive archival research--including the discovery of a rare collection of nineteenth-century records of an African American Freemason Lodge--Corey D. B. Walker provides an innovative perspective on American politics and society during the long transition from slavery to freedom. With great care and detail, Walker argues that African American freemasonry provides a critical theoretical lens for understanding the distinctive ways African Americans have constructed a radically democratic political imaginary through racial solidarity and political nationalism, forcing us to reconsider much more circumspectly the complex relationship between voluntary associations and democratic politics.
When people are routinely and systematically oppressed for years, it is only logical that they eventually rise up against their oppressors. For African slaves in North America, these rebellions were largely unsuccessful. Nevertheless, the anger and uprisings that came from people who wanted their freedom and were willing to fight for it are important parts of the story of the fight to end slavery. Readers get a deeper understanding of crucial slave rebellions throughout history through thoroughly researched text, primary sources, and topical photographs.
"The United States has never existed without a Black Samson. Before Harriet Tubman or Martin Luther King were identified with Moses, African Americans linked those who challenged racial oppression in America with Samson. In Black Samson: The Untold Story of an American Icon, Nyasha Junior and Jeremy Schipper investigate legal documents, narratives by enslaved persons, speeches, sermons, periodicals, poetry, fiction, and visual arts to tell the unlikely story of how a flawed biblical hero became an iconic figure in America's racial history. Along the way, Schipper and Junior engage the work of African-American luminaries, including Fredrick Douglass, Ida B. Wells-Barnett, Richard Wright, Ralph Ellison, James Baldwin, Malcolm X, Huey P. Newton, and many others. From stories of slave rebellions to the Harlem Renaissance to the civil rights era and the Black Power movement, invoking the biblical character of Samson became a powerful way for African American intellectuals, activists, and artists to voice strategies and opinions about many race-related issues, including slavery, education, patriotism, organized labor, civil rights, and gender equality. As this provocative book reveals, the story of Black Samson became a story of America's contested racial history"--