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What was the Vesey Rebellion?

July 14th

VeseyJuly 14, 1822 — Freed slave Denmark Vesey planned a revolt to occur today that would have involved thousands of slaves from multiple plantations.

Known as the Vesey Rebellion, his plan was to gather as many as 3,000 men in and around Charleston, South Carolina, who were fellow followers from the African Methodist Episcopal Church, as well as from among artisans and rural slaves.

Vesey proposed that the insurgents take the city ammunitions depository, plunder the local banks, slaughter every white person in the city, and sail to Saint Dominique. A week prior to the attack, insiders began to alert the authorities. The revolt was foiled, and Vesey and 35 others were hanged.

VeseyBookBorn on the sugar plantation island of Saint Thomas in 1767, Vesey won $1500 in the East Bay Lottery. He purchased his own freedom, but not that of his wife or children. Securing their freedom is what historians believe to be the reason he plotted the revolt.

His courage is recognized today. Harriet Beecher Stowe’s famous novel Dred, is based on Vesey’s life. His name was used to recruit African Americans into the US Colored troops. In 2014, a statue of Vesey was erected in Charleston.

Words of Wisdom

We are free, but the white people here won't let us be so; and the only way is to raise up and fight the whites.

— Freed slave Denmark Vesey, who planned the Vesey Rebellion for July 14, 1822

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