Essay on Slave Resistance

1910 Words Mar 21st, 2012 8 Pages
Since the beginning of the transatlantic slave trade, captured Africans thought and plotted of ways to resist their bondage. After landing in America enslaved Africans resisted slavery in many forms; some of these were passive while others were more outright and violent. This essay will discuss forms of resistance used by slaves during their journey to America, as well as common forms of resistance slaves used while living on plantations. These forms of resistance were running away, slave revolts, and subtle day to day resistance. Regardless of the form of resistance used, slaves were not content living a life of bondage and used all means available to resist no matter the consequence.

The transition into a life of slavery
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Slavery involved a constant process of negotiation as slaves bargained over the pace of work, the amount of free time they would enjoy, monetary rewards, access to garden plots, and the freedom to practice burials, marriages, and religious ceremonies free from white oversight. Another form of slave resistance was revolts and rebellions. This form of resistance was the most violent and dangerous form of resistance used. There were many unsuccessful revolts during the time of slavery, but just the thought or attempt of a slave revolt worried slave owners very deeply. Numerous slave rebellions and insurrections took place in North America during the 18th and 19th centuries. The New York rebellion in 1712 two dozen slaves set fire to the building of a prominent New Yorker and then shot and stabbed whites who were coming to extinguish the flames. After being caught the slaves were quickly tried and publically executed. There is documentary evidence of more than 250 uprisings or attempted uprisings involving ten or more slaves.
The best known attempted uprisings in the United States are the revolts by Gabriel Prosser in Virginia in 1800, Denmark Vesey in Charleston, South Carolina in 1822, and Nat Turner in Southampton County, Virginia, in 1831. Nat Turner, a slave himself, led a revolt in Southampton, Virginia. Turner, who was a natural preacher, led a small revolt of some 40 slaves and before being

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