I, don’t disagree with this. I am curious what would of have had happened in a world where we all rebelled…..
If we all rebelled, it would have been squashed because unlike in the Caribbean sugar islands (for instance Haiti), Blacks in America were a minority and Whites were the majority. Also, plantations were spaced far apart and America is very large. We were simply outnumbered and would have been massacred.
However, that is not to say we didn’t try anyway. We definitely did. The first slaves were brought here in 1619 and about 40 years later the first serious revolt happened, which I think is incredible considering the huge communication barrier (Slaves at that time came from many different West African nations and spoke different languages, making communication with each other difficult).
1663: First serious slave conspiracy in Colonial America
White servants and black slaves conspire to revolt in Gloucester County, VA, but are betrayed by a fellow servant.
Notice that it was Blacks and Whites WORKING TOGETHER. They would ally again during Bacon’s Rebellion in 1676. After that, rich Whites realized they couldn’t maintain power if Whites and Blacks formed allegiances. New laws were made and slavery became exclusively based on skin color, lifelong, and a status inherited by one’s children. All of these new laws created a racially based class system with Blacks at the very bottom. This was the way the rich decided to control the poor, by making them visibly distinct and thus easier to watch. They still use this method today. Have you ever seen a poor White person against Affirmative Action? It’s because issues of the poor have become racialized. Because of their racism, poor Whites are less likely to fight for causes that would actually benefit them. And it allllll started with those rebellions so long ago. That’s when the rich Whites realized they could use race to make poorer Whites their pawns.
Anyway, let’s continue…..
New York City Slave Rebellion—1712—25 slaves armed with guns and clubs burned down houses on the northern edge of New York City and killed nine whites. The rebels were killed after soldiers arrived. The repercussions of this rebellion resulted in the tortuous execution of 18 participants in the rebellion.
1739: The Stono Rebellion
The deadliest revolt in Colonial America takes place in Stono, SC. Armed slaves start marching to Florida and towards freedom, but the insurrection is put down and at least 20 whites and more than 40 blacks are killed.
New York Conspiracy—March and April, 1741— Thirty-one slaves and four whites were executed as a result of rumors of a major slave rebellion in New York City. It is unknown whether these rumors were based on fact or were part of a larger paranoia which existed regarding slave uprisings.
1800: Gabriel Prosser’s rebellion
In the spring of 1800, Prosser, a deeply religious man, begins plotting an invasion of Richmond, Virginia and an attack on its armory. By summer he has enlisted more than 1,000 slaves and collected an armory of weapons, organizing the first large-scale slave revolt in the U.S. On the day of the revolt, the bridges leading to Richmond are destroyed in a flood, and Prosser is betrayed. The state militia attacks, and Prosser and 35 of his men are hanged.
1811 Louisiana Slave Revolt
In the middle of the night on Jan. 8, 1811, a small group of slaves entered the bedroom of plantation owner Manuel Andry in his German Coast, La., home. After slaves slung a few axes and other domestic weapons, a wounded Andry managed to escape, but his son did not. The slaves then quickly seized arms and marched to New Orleans, picking up [more than 200] fighters along the way as whites fled in fear. The revolt, however, was quickly put down by a local militia.
Fort Blount—1816—Three hundred fugitive slaves and Florida Native Americans battled the U.S. Army at Apalachicola Bay in Florida. They were able to hold the fort for several days before being overwhelmed by U.S. forces.
1822: Denmark Vesey’s revolt
A freed man, Vesey had won a lottery and purchased his emancipation in 1800. He is working as a carpenter in Charleston, South Carolina when he starts to plan a massive slave rebellion—one of the most elaborate plots in American history—involving thousands of slaves on surrounding plantations, organized into cells. They would start a major fire at night, and then kill the slave owners and their families. Vesey is betrayed and hanged, but the cell structure prevents officials from identifying other leaders.
Nat Turner’s Revolt—August, 1831—Nat Turner’s rebellion was the most successful of all slave revolts. Turner, a slave preacher, inspired fellow slaves with his apocalyptic visions of white and black angels fighting in heaven. He gathered up his seven original followers and, without the organization or planning of Prosser and Vesey, launched his rebellion by entering his owner’s home and killing the entire family, save for a small infant. They moved from one farm to the next, killing all slave-owning whites they found. As they progressed through Southampton county, other slaves joined in the rebellion. The next day, Turner and his eighty followers were intercepted by the state militia. In the confrontation that followed, Turner escaped and remained free for nearly two months. In those two months though, the militia and white vigilantes instituted a reign of terror over slaves in the region. Hundreds of blacks were killed. White Virginians panicked over fears of a larger slave revolt and soon instituted more restrictive laws regulating slave life. Turner was eventually captured and hung.
1839: The Amistad mutiny
Led by a West African named Cinque, slaves transported aboard the Spanish ship Amistad stage a mutiny, killing the entire crew except for the captain and first mate and demanding to be sailed back to Africa. Instead, the captain sails to New York. The rebels eventually win their freedom in a landmark Supreme Court case in which they are defended by former president John Quincy Adams.
1841: Creole revolt
Slaves revolt on the Creole, a slave trading ship sailing from Virginia to Louisiana. The rebels overpower the crew and successfully sail to the Bahamas, where they are granted asylum and freedom.
1859: Harper’s Ferry Attack
Led by abolitionist John Brown, a group of slaves and white abolitionists stage an attack on Harper’s Ferry, Virginia. They capture the federal armory and arsenal before the insurrection is halted by local militia. Brown and the other captives are tried and executed. The raid hastens the advent of the Civil War, which starts two years later.
(via PBS, History Guy, and The Root)
So, even given the circumstances, we still managed to have some major revolts. Also, let’s not forget some other forms of resistance such as being late, feigning illness, breaking and sabotaging tools/equipment, theft, birth control/abortions, and running away.
I’d also like to add that in 200 years someone could easily make this exact same meme about what we “should have done” in 2013. People shoulda coulda woulda the past but what’s the point when you do nothing to change today.
There is a novel called “Fire on the Mountain” by Terry Bisson is set in an alternate universe where the attack on Harper’s Ferry was successful and started a slave uprising in the South, instead of the American civil war, which was aided by Haiti and Mexico. It is partly set in that time period, and partly set 100 years later.
Very good, I recommend it.