ChickenBones: A Journal

for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes



 We have such a surfeit of them, as to make us many thousand times wish that we had a home almost anywhere–it relieves from seeing black faces . . . and with much revulsion of feeling we see it proposed to drive all the free colored persons out of Virginia!  




Insurrection Of The Blacks


from the Niles’ Register 


SEPT. 17, 1831

The South.  The people in lower Virginia and the adjacent parts of N. Carolina are excessively agitated, because of the massacre in Southampton.  There is a report that the Dismal Swamp is to be scoured, for it is said to contain from 2 to 3,00 blacks, and that these were in concert with the murdered in Southampton; it is said that troops were marching to Newbern, N.C. where an insurrection was expected, or had actually broken out; and it is well known that the white people in all this section of the county are arming themselves and that suspicion and fear prevails to an unprecedented extent. 

Five full and efficient volunteer companies have been formed, or renewed at Petersburg, Va. Great apprehension prevails that inflammatory papers have been distributed among the Negroes in North Carolina; but no fact has been discovered to sustain the supposition.  If such are discovered, we hope that the authors of them may be designated, and blasted by the contempt and scorn of every honest man.  We hate-without reservation, hate, Negro slavery and regret it as the supreme curse of our land—but we have the blacks and must make the best of the unhappy condition in which we are placed that we can. 

And this we think, is certain—that a large majority of the slaves were better fed and clothed, more comfortable and virtuous, than the free Negroes who are the very pests of society in Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York, Providence, &c.  Much experience has taught us that emancipation without removal, adds to the grievance under which we are suffering; and it is this belief that prevents thousands of human masters from liberating their people; fearing that too many of them would become vagabonds and thieves, if cast upon the taking care of themselves. We have such a surfeit of them, as to make us many thousand times wish that we had a home almost anywhere–it relieves from seeing black faces, though some very worthy persons have them; and with much revulsion of feeling we see it proposed to drive all the free colored persons out of Virginia!  

Verily we have enough of them, and our jail, penitentiary, poor house, are besides chiefly filled with them. We cannot accept anymore- we have much more than our share already!  We are willing to bear our own part of the evil, or relieve it by supporting the African colonization society, and must insist that Virginia shall bear her part, also. She should do unto others as she would that they should do unto her.  A man cannot be justified in placing his own encumbrance upon his neighbor’s ground. It is a procedure that should be nullificated.  But does not it appear that those who talk about “nullification” are like idle boys playing with squibs and cruckers, in a powder magazine?

(A Negro man supposed to be the famous Gen. Nat of Southampton negroes, arrested and detained at Baltimore as a runaway slave-has been demanded by and given up to the executive of Virginia.  Many of the prisoners have already been executed.)

The Fredericksburg Arena has the following remarks—It is gratifying to state that the language held by our editorial brethren of the north, in relation to the late disastrous occurrences, is entirely unobjectionable.  We have seen no taunts, no cant, no complacent dwelling upon the superior advantages of the non-slave holding states; on the contrary, there has been a burst of generous sympathy, an unequivocal expression of horror at the scenes enacted by the deluded wretched.  We have no doubt, that should it ever be necessary, the citizens of the northern states would promptly fly to the assistance of their southern brethren—we speak of the vast majority—fanatics there are, doubtless, who so far from thus acting would not very much scruple to foment disaffection, and excite servile insurrection.


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Nathaniel Turner TimeLine  / 1831 Confessions     /  Sonnets in Memory of Nathaniel Turner (Rudolph Lewis)

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Nathaniel Turner: Christian Martyrdom in Southampton: A Theology of Black Liberation (Rudolph Lewis)

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Nat Turner in History’s Multiple Mirrors  (Felecia R. Lee, NYTimes)  /  Hatcher Plans to Exhibit Turner Skull


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Insurrection Of The Blacks Niles’ Register  Sept. 3 1831 Sept. 10, 1831 / Sept 17, 1831

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The White Masters of the World

From The World and Africa, 1965

By W. E. B. Du Bois

W. E. B. Du Bois’ Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization (Fletcher)

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Ancient African Nations

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Negro Digest / Black World

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The Death of Emmett Till by Bob Dylan  The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll  Only a Pawn in Their Game

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson Thanks America for Slavery /

George Jackson  / Hurricane Carter

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The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg

The Haitian Declaration of Independence 1804  / January 1, 1804 — The Founding of Haiti 

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update 28 June 2008



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Related files: Insurrection of the Blacks   Insurrection of Blacks2   Insurrection of Black3   Insurrection of the Blacks4