Who Will Pluck Our Cotton???

The Black Man's Revolt!

Nat Turner -You Can Not Run From Us!

A fanatic preacher by the name of Nat Turner who had been the slave of a respectable man called Mr. Travis led a catastrophic uprising in Southampton, Virgina, August, 1831. He and another slave of Mr. Travis, a young fellow by the name of Moore, were two of the leaders of this monstrous assult. They had 40 or 50 others join them to cooperate in the scheme of massacre. After killing the family of Turner's owner, they ravaged the neighborhood. I cannot say how long they were organizing but with few firearms among them, they were either using knives or axes to knock citizens on the head, or to cut the throats of their victims. "As they went from house to house, they drank ardent spirits -and it is supposed, that in consequence of their being intoxicated,-or from mere fatigue, they paused in their murderous career about 12 o'clock on Monday" (Says, The Richmond Enquirer).


Before our armed militia could contain these rebels, they had already killed 6o white men, women, and children. Their revolt was soon crushed, however, and 13 slaves and three free blacks were hanged immediately, then later killing more than 200 blacks, we reclaimed subjagation. Turner himself escaped to the woods, but was captured six weeks later. He was tried on November 5th for “conspiring to rebel and making insurrection” and thus was made an example of public execution. Luckily, Nat Turner’s rebellion was quelled in only two days’ time. Every black man known to conspire with these young gentelmen was punishable by death. The courts would discriminate the innocent from the guilty. In his "Confession", Turner had said that he hoped to inspire other slaves to seek freedom by any means and later he wanted to spread “terror and alarm” among White people. That hath brought us no fear though, for we stand united as we have conquered our putrid rebels.

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What Would Have Been The Biggest Slave Revolt In U.S. History

Versey, Denmark -A slave at sea for twenty years obeying his master's demands, purchased his freedom after winning the lottery. This man acquired considerable wealth and influence in South Carolina. In 1822, Denmark formed a conspiracy that more or less than 9,000 free and enslaved blacks intended to be part of. Using church meetings as a cover, he supposedly planned a slave insurrection with the intention of taking over Charleston, killing all whites, and, if necessary, fleeing to Haiti. His anger came about from the recent decision to suppress their African Church, and the idea that "All men are created equal." But his plans were revealed before the uprising could take place. Betrayed by several fearful slaves who were loyal to their masters, he and other followers were seized. In court at his trial he defended himself, but was sentenced and hanged along with about 35 blacks; some 35 others were sold to West Indian plantation owners.


Thomas Wentworth Higginson had asked Versey "What infatuation could have prompted you to attempt an enterprise so wild and visionary? You were a free man, comely, wealthy, and enjoyed every comfort compatible with your situation. You had, therefore, much to risk and little to gain." His response to Higginson's words was, "The negroes were living such an abominable life, they ought to rise. I said, I was living well; he said, though I was, others were not, and that 't was such fools as I that were in the way and would not help them, and that after all things were well he would mark me."


This would have been the largest slave revolt in U.S. history, but its end result was the passing of even stricter laws against African-Americans.

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Running & Hiding A Young Girl's Game

In 1825, Harriet A. Jacobs' life had abruptly changed. After her mistress had passed away Dr. James Norcom, an Edenton physician, had so generously taken role as her master. Infatuated with the young girl, he even built a cottage for his slave four miles from town. The Doctor had begun the growth of strong feelings for the young girl. He would wisper things in her ear, and make passes at her to show his intrest. But Harriet had only disgraced her master by refusal of his touch and asking permission to marry a free black man. Norcom had refused in utter disgust.


Then, Harriet devised a plan to disrupt his fight for sexual desires: She had become friends with a neighboring white man -- an unmarried lawyer. She would become sexually involved with this man, become pregnant, and hoped to infuriate Norcom so he would sell her and her child. A child was conceived. Harriet felt "it was something to triumph over my tyrant in that small way." Nevertheless, Norcom had no intention to sell her. He still wanted to pursue this young lady. Still trying to disobey and get away, she bore the lawyer another child! Norcom had decided then, that he would put her children to work as plantation slaves to keep them close, and keep Harriet from running.


Harriet Jacobs had mentally had enough, in June of 1835, after seven years of purposefully avoiding her masters' commands and desires, Harriet fled. She hid for seven years in attics and small crawl spaces. But in 1842, Harriet escaped. She sailed to Philadelphia, and after a short stay, travelled to New York City by train, and left Doctor Norcom entirely.

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Daring To Free Themselves From Bondage

A young man of the name Gabriel Prosser, was born into slavery on a tobacco farm along with his two brothers, and mother raising them. Gabriel had learned to read and write along with learning the trade of being a blacksmith. He was a tall man that stood six foot high, but skinny and weak, not feared by many. On the night of August 30, 1800, Gabriel had planned to initiate an insurrection. With the help of roughly 10,000 Blacks, Prosser devised a plan to seize control of Richmond by killing all of the whites (except the Methodists, Quakers and Frenchmen) and then establishing a Kingdom of Virginia with himself as monarch.


The revolt was never executed though. Surely the plan was set in stone, but thanks to two brave and honest black men who were loyal to their masters, Virgina authorities were alerted and Governor James Monroe prepared the militia. A rainstorm delayed the uprising by 24 hours, preventing Prosser’s army from assembling outside Richmond and providing the milita crucial time to prepare a defense of the city. Prosser's plans were spoiled, and knowing that, Prosser and many of his followers dispersed into the countryside.


To our favor, no white men were killed upon the night of August 30, 1800. This childish attempt at "revolt" never really got started. This was an unorganized and was likely to fail, even if their men hadn't given us the clear warning.


About 35 leaders were captured and executed but Prosser escaped to Norfolk where he was betrayed by fellow slaves who claimed the reward for his capture on September 25. Prosser was returned to Richmond and tried for his role in the abortive uprising. He was found guilty on October 6, 1800 and executed the following day by public hanging. Gabriel P. had spoken one reason he felt entitled to lead a revolt "We had as much to fight for our liberty as any men."


The State of Virgina shall respond to this planned revolt, by tightening legal restrictions on slaves. Virgina laws will now limit the education, gathering, and hiring of freed slaves to quell any hopes of similar plans and uprisings.

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Author of this article: Jenica E. Edwards