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19th Century Black/African American Activism in the Lowcountry: Denmark Vesey

This is a guide that will provide resources and information about early activism and rebellions by Black/African Americans in the Lowcountry


In May of 1822, Charlestonians uncovered a plot for a slave insurrection planned for July.  Denmark Vesey, a free black man who purchased his freedom in 1800, was the leader of the alleged insurrection, which planned to take the city of Charleston.  After a lengthy trial, Vesey and over thirty others were condemned to death and hanged.  After the insurrection scare, laws were passed to restrict the movement of slaves and free blacks. 

From 2009 Teaching American History in South Carolina Project


Sites of Interest

Denmark Vesey Home

Denmark Vesey Monument in Hampton Park

Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church

Primary Sources

Newspapers, selected issues

  • The Charleston Mercury and Morning Advertiser, August 3, 1822
  • The National Gazette and Literary Register, August 27, 1822