To refresh everyone’s memory on the major rebellions that have occurred that involved Black, poor Whites, and Native Americans, click on the following links:



“The Story of Bacon’s Rebellion”:   http://www.newrivernotes.com/va/bacon.htm#2 

“The Beginning, Progress, and Conclusion of Bacon’s Rebellion In Virginia in the Years 1675 and 1676”:  http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/collections/jefferson_papers/tm.html


Other rebellions during the time of indentured servitude and race-based slavery:


“Shay’s Rebellion (1786-87) and the Constituion”: http://www.calliope.org/shays/shays2.html


But, it was the Stono Rebellion that really struck fear and terror into the hearts of whites during America’s colonial era of American race-based slavery:


The Stono Rebellion (sometimes called Cato’s Conspiracy or Cato’s Rebellion) is one of the earliest known organized acts of rebellion against slavery within the boundaries of the present United States. On September 9, 1739, South Carolina slaves gathered at the Stono River (for which the rebellion is named) to plan an armed march for freedom.

Several factors may have convinced the slaves that a rebellion might successfully lead to freedom. A yellow fever epidemic had weakened the power of slaveholders, there was talk of a war between Britain and Spain, and accounts of slaves who had obtained their freedom by escaping to Spanish-controlled Florida gave the Carolinian slaves hope. Lastly, it has been suggested that the slaves organized their revolt to take place before September 29, when the Security Act of 1739 (which required all white males to carry arms on Sundays) would take effect. Jemmy, the leader of the revolt, was a literate slave described as Angolan, which likely meant he was from the Kongo Empire in Central Africa. He and the other slaves who led the rebellion may have realized that if they did not act to seek their freedom before September 29, they might not get another chance.

On September 9, 1739, twenty African American Carolinians led by Jemmy, an Angolan slave, met near the Stono River, twenty miles southwest of Charleston. They marched down the roadway with a banner that read “Liberty!”—they chanted the same word in unison. At the Stono Bridge they seized weapons and ammunition from a store at the Stono River Bridge and killed the two storekeepers. They raised a flag and proceeded south towards Spanish Florida, a well known refuge for escapees. On the way, they gathered more recruits, their number now 80. They burned 7 plantations and killed 20 whites. South Carolina’s Lieutenant Governor, William Bull, and four of his friends ran into the group on horseback. The Lieutenant Governor fled and warned other slave-holders. They rallied a mob of plantation owners and slave-holders to seek out Jemmy and his freedom-seeking followers.

The next day, mounted militia caught up with the group numbering 80 slaves. Twenty white Carolinians and forty-four of the slaves were killed before the rebellion was suppressed. The captured slaves were then decapitated and their heads were spiked on every mile post between that spot and Charles Town.

The next year there was another uprising in Georgia, and the next year another took place in South Carolina, probably inspired by the Stono Rebellion—at the time, colonial officials believed as much. The Stono Rebellion resulted in a 10-year moratorium on slave imports through Charleston and enacted a harsher slave code, which banned earning money and education for slaves.

Now named Stono River Slave Rebellion Site, the Hutchinson’s warehouse site where the revolt began was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1974.



THE STONO REBELLION (1739):  http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/aia/part1/1p284.html

“Report From William Bull re. the Stono Rebellion”: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/aia/part1/1h311t.html


“Slavery, the Peculiar Institution”:  http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/aaohtml/exhibit/aopart1.html




© Romare Bearden Foundation / Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s