Saturday, April 6, 2013

An Early Northern Slave Revolt

The New York Slave Revolt of 1712 occurred April 6th 1712 in New York City.

New York City was just waiting for a rebellion, with slaves and free blacks living close to each other.  Communication between these two populations was close and easy unlike those populations living on plantations.  On the night of April 6th 1712 after a meeting of about 23 black men at a tavern, enslaved blacks armed with guns and knives, set buildings on Maiden Lane near Broadway on fire.  Whites tried to fight the fire, but the slaves attacked them, killing 9 and injuring another 6.

Militia units were called in from neighboring Westchester and a nearby fort.  There were about 70 blacks put in jail.  Out of these it was reported that 6 committed suicides, 27 were placed on trial, and of these 21 were sentenced to death.  Most of these men were burned to death.

Following the revolt New York made new laws controlling blacks.  They were not allowed to gather in groups of more than three at a time, and could no longer carry firearms.  These new laws also affected the free blacks, taking away their rights to own land.  It also required any person deciding to free their slave to post a bond of £200.

New York would see another slave revolt in 1741.

If you would like to read more The Slave Rebellion  is a good web site.

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