Slavery - Slave Resistance

1176 Words5 Pages
It could be considered almost ludicrous that most African-Americans were content with their station in life. Although that was how they were portrayed to the white people, it was a complete myth. Most slaves were dissatisfied with their stations in life, and longed to have the right of freedom. Their owners were acutely conscious of this fact and went to great lengths to prevent slave uprisings from occurring. An example of a drastic measure would be the prohibition of slaves receiving letters. They were also not allowed to converge outside church after services, in hopes of stopping conspiracy. Yet the slaves still managed to fight back. In 1800, the first major slave rebellion was conceived. Gabriel Prosser was a 24 year old slave who was deeply religious. He felt that slavery was morally wrong and chose to fight against it. During the spring and summer of 1800, he began carefully creating a plan, in which he would invade Richmond, Virginia. From there he would take over the armory and the powder house, in order to have complete control over the city. He soon recruited more than a thousand slaves and had weapons on hand. On August 30, 1800, Gabriel’s army collected outside Richmond. Unfortunately, they were unable to attack the city, as a violent rainstorm ensued, and ended up washing out all the bridges and roads. His plans were revealed to Governor James Monroe by traitors. Before the slave forces could regroup after the storm, the state militia was sent out by the governor in an effort to stamp out the rebellion. They succeeded, and Gabriel Prosser was captured along with 34 followers. He was executed shortly afterwards. Denmark Vesey was an "upper class" slave, who had some degree of independence and free thought. He was able to purchase his freedom in 1800 by winning a lottery of $600. From there he resided in Charleston, South Carolina as a carpenter. He was highly influenced by Christianity and was very religious. This later inspired him to make plans to free his fellow slaves. In particular, he liked to use the story of the deliverance of the Israelites from the Egyptians. He related it to the situation that the slaves were in, and used it to inspire other blacks to rebel against their plight. In 1821, he began organizing a revolt of his own with Peter Poyas. Peter Poyas arranged the rebellion into a sort of hierarchy. Slaves were place...

... middle of paper ...

... Cuba, organized by a man named Joseph Cinque. The slaves, newly taken from Africa, killed the captain of the ship and demanded to be taken back to Sierra Leone. The navigator managed to sail the ship back in the direction of the United States, where they were later towed in by a U. S. Navy ship. The rebels were placed into jail and then went on trial. A committee of Abolitionists formed to help defend the slaves and they were later freed. The courts ruled that because slave trafficking was illegal now, the slaves were to be considered kidnapped, and therefore were able to be set free. They returned to Sierra Leone, along with missionaries who intended to set up a Christian mission. This case was important because the Supreme Court actually ruled in the favor of slaves. Although the slaves seemed utterly powerless, they were able to fight back against the injustices wrought on them. They used strength and perseverance to maintain their war against their enslavement. Despite the low success rate of their rebellions, they won the battle in the end. It seemed that most slaves were willing to sacrifice everything to possess freedom, and ensure it for the future generations after them.
Open Document