ChickenBones: A Journal

for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes



Denmark read . . . the whole of 21 Chap. Exodus & spoke and exhorted from 16 Verse

the words “and He that stealeth a man” &c. . . .  and said it was the climate

 of Africa made them Black but were not inferior to Whites on that account.  



Denmark Vesey Plans a Revolt

The Confession of John Enslow


The Plan was that every Black man who was attached to them was to come out and assemble where the Beat companies meet.  Others had their positions assigned to them, to push for the different magazines and Guard Houses.  The House servants were to Kill their Masters, with whatever instruments they had or could obtain, it was thought that the House servants would do most mischief at the commencement.  

There was to be no signal, because Denmark and the principal leaders said it would excite alarm, but at 12 O’Clock at Night, they must take their stations & act their part.  The people up the road to take the Magazine then push for Town, and spare nothing that obstructed them.  The Country people was to push for Meys Wharf & take the U States Navy Yd. on Meys Wharf (to be commanded by Gullah Jack).  

Rolla Bennett, to command the Country people who cross the Bridge on Ashly River.  Ned Bennet, to meet in Mr. Elias Horry’s house and collect a number (assisted by John Horry & push for the Guard House) the corner of Meeting & Broad Streets, and join those from the road.  Negroes would be supplied with arms, from this source, (who had not been provided) if successful, — Monday & Denmark to have strongest force, and come to town, when they had succeeded up town, and Peter Poyas was to have command along East & South Bay and try to capture the shipping.  This was considered the most active station, as he would prevent the escape of the whites if they conquered.  

The Resolve was if they did not succeed in town they would fire it and retreat to the Lines and there fight man for man and if defeated go to the woods and do all the harm they could.  I have spoken myself to Denmark & Peter about the people in the Country and know they went into the country often and told me they had communications in all the Islands—also in Columbia, Santee, and different places, in that direction.  

I also heard them say they were well informed in Georgetown.  That they would let the principal Men know the time of attack, being a short distance from Charleston would commence a day or two before.  Kill all the whites between there and Charleston, make their way thro’ the woods and be in time to assist their people in town.  It is also said by them that the Population in Georgetown could be killed in one half hour.  They would capture all the Boats &c and get a great many arms, from that place.  

Master I tell you candidly the thing was general and known.

Denmark read at the meeting different Chapters from the Old Testament, but most generally read the whole of 21 Chap. Exodus & spoke and exhorted from 16 Verse the words “and He that stealeth a man” &c. He read frequently in a Book about the complexion of people and said it was the climate of Africa made them Black but were not inferior to Whites on that account.  

Monday Gell also wrote letters to St. Domingo by the steward of a Brig lying at Gibbes & Harpers Wharf.  It was understood that they would obtain assistance from St. Domingo and the North—because Monday Gell read several speeches, and pamphlets, and said that the Northern Brothers would assist them and if they failed would be no disgrace.  Monday Gell is the first person who spoke to me, and told me to expected a number at that time (Feby) to join him for he had spoken to be a considerable number.  

Denmark, Peter Poyas, Rolla, Ned, Garner, John Vincent & others have spoken to many particularly the first six who were hung; but in consequence of their deaths the names of a number remain a secret as they spoke to them individually.  Billy Palmer was also considered an active man.  I was not at the last meeting but understood they had determined to Kill Men, Women & Children.  I believe the report true for at the Meeting before the last, Denmark & Peter Poyas said if you Kill the Lice, you must Kill the Nits.

Master having read this over to me I do swear it is true and some facts left out, of which I will remind him (because I was at all their meetings,) and was considered an active man.  there was a quantity of Arms, of different Kinds furnished, for Denmark told me in March, he was getting Arms fast, about 150 to 200 pikes made, and there was a great deal of money placed in his hands for the purpose.  they must have been sent in the Country by Rolla, Ned, Peter, Denmark, and Batteau.

Source: Robert S. Starobin, editor. Denmark Vesey: The Slave Conspiracy of 1822. Englwood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1970.

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Nathaniel Turner

Christian Martyrdom in Southampton 

A Theology of Black Liberation

By Rudolph Lewis

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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

Browse all issues

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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 3 May 2009



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