Essay Preview: Slave Resistance
Report this essay
Enslaved African Americans resisted slavery in a variety of active and passive ways. “Day-to-day resistance” was the most common form of opposition to slavery. Breaking tools, feigning illness, staging slowdowns, and committing acts of sabotage–were all forms of resistance and expression of slaves alienation from their masters. Running away was another form of resistance. Most slaves ran away relatively short distances and were not trying to permanently escape from slavery. I have chosen to talk about five different instances when slaves rebelled or revolted. The five revolts I chose to discuss throughout my paper are Denmark. Vesey s Slave Revolt of 1822, the New Orleans Louisiana Revolt of January 1811, the New York City Slave Rebellion of 1712, Gabriel Prossers Rebellion of 1800, and the Stono Rebellion of 1739.
One slave revolt was Denmark Veseys Slave Revolt of 1822. Vesey was a free black man who lived in the south and did not agree with slavery. He was inspired from many stories dealing with freedom and bondage that he read in the bible. He began to organize a major rebellion that would take place in Charleston in 1822. While planning out this rebellion Vesey and his men would separate into small cells, that way if one group was caught the others would survive.
Veseys plan was to have armed slaves outside of the white mens house at night. While certain slaves were outside of the white mans house the other group of slaves would start a major fire in the city. As the while males would come out of their house to see what was going on, the slaves would shoot the white men.
This may have seemed like a good plan to Vesey because he thought his plan would work. Little did he know that someone had betrayed them before the attack had even started. One of Veseys companions had turned him in way before the revolt was supposed to happen. Vesey and his men were hung, however, because this attack was planned, many southern slave owners were terrified.
Secondly, I chose to talk about one of the largest slave revolts of the United States. This revolt took place in New Orleans Louisiana on January 1811. Five hundred enslaved Africans from the Deslonde plantation were led by Charles (a laborer). As they grabbed their weapons and tools, they headed for the city. Their goal was to free all the enslaved Americans from the Mississippi Valley and capture the city. On their journey they burned many plantations and killed some of their followers, who were also known as, flunkies. As the slaves got within ten miles of the city they were attacked by United States Troops.
Another slave revolt was the New York City Slave Rebellion of 1712. It all started at midnight on April 6, 1712. Twenty-three blacks all gathered together at a tavern with armed guns, hatchets, and swords. The group of black men set a building in the middle of the city on fire. As the fire spread, the twenty-three men had attacked. At least nine men were shot, stabbed or beaten to death and six men were wounded.
Soon after the attack, twenty-seven slaves were captured. Six of those men committed suicide and some were either executed or burned alive. After this attack New York had made strict laws regarding slaves. Some of the new laws were that a master could punish his slaves as much as he wanted as long as no limbs were removed from their body of the result of death. Also, if any slave was caught with a firearm they were to be whipped twenty times. If any slave would be caught gambling in public there were to be whipped, or if they tried to plot a murder or a rape they were executed. These laws seemed to work until another uprising in 1741.
Another rebellion that was unsuccessful was Gabriel Prossers Rebellion of 1800. Prossers plan was to slay all white males and to establish a kingdom in Virginia with him as King. Months before the attack, Prosser recruited people and organized them into military groups. It was estimated that several thousand slaves were involved. Since weapons, such as guns, were not available to the slaves they had to make weapons out of farming equipment.
The plan was to attack during the night on August 30, 1800. To distract the whites, men were to set fires to building in Richmond while Prossers plan was to seize the government buildings across town. Prosser and his men thought that with the firearms gained they could easily take on the whites.
On the Day of the attack two or Prossers men warned Virginias governor, James Monroe, who immediately alerted the militia. That night as Prossers men were setting up outside Richmond, a bad rainstorm flooded the roads and bridges,