Slavery makes me sick. I never could understand it. How could one human own another? Does that make any sense at all? The concept of slavery goes against what I have always been taught: to respect other people. I wonder what I would have done if I had been a slave? Would I have escaped and started a new life in the north? Or would I have escaped and helped out the Underground Railroad? Maybe I would have killed my way out of slavery?
Slavery makes me sick. I never could understand it. How could one human own another? Does that make any sense at all? The concept of slavery goes against what I have always been taught: to respect other people.
I wonder what I would have done if I had been a slave? Would I have escaped and started a new life in the north? Or would I have escaped and helped out the Underground Railroad? Maybe I would have killed my way out of slavery?
What if you were a Slave?
Put yourself in the shoes of a slave around the year 1800. How would you like to be told what to do all the time? You begin work before dawn and perform backbreaking labor all day in the fields. You are told what to eat, when to eat and even how to eat. Your master controls any free time you have. You always hear stories about the North and how you could live freely if you escaped and traveled up there. Freedom is always on your mind. You wonder what it means to be free. Whatever the word "freedom" means, you know you want it and that no matter what it takes, you are going to get it!
Now that I look back on that situation, I realize my dad was just looking out for me because he loved me and was concerned. In fact, I'm actually glad that he did what he did. And I have a lot of respect for him for putting up with me for all these years!
Gabriel was born in 1776 -- the same year the United States was officially "born" -- on the Brookfield plantation near Richmond, Virginia. Gabriel's master, Thomas Prosser, gave him a limited education so he could travel around to different plantations doing blacksmith work and trading. This would prove to be very economical move for Prosser, because he would be making all of the money off of Gabriel's work (Gabriel had to give his money to his master). Even so, Gabriel enjoyed his work because he could travel to other plantations and meet other slaves. He also realized that he was in a position to coordinate a massive uprising that might have meant freedom for those involved. It was just a matter of getting all the slaves organized and together on the same day. As Gabriel traveled to all the other plantations to work and trade, he began to talk to slaves and plan out a battle for their freedom.
Gabriel's Battle Plan
This was Gabriel's dream and he really believed that they could do it if everyone participated. His hopes were high and he held meetings every so often get ready. What would happen next would not be apart of Gabriel's plans to free the slaves.
The Lost Cause
On the night of the planned rebellion, floods caused by a massive thunderstorm made roads and bridges impassable. The rebel leaders tried to reschedule the rebellion for the next evening, but it was too late. Two slaves from Meadow Farm, Tom and Pharaoh, informed their owner, Mosby Sheppard, of the plot. Sheppard notified Governor Monroe, who called out the militia to protect the state capitol.
Gabriel's plan did not free the slaves, but it did strike fear through the plantation owners and government officials. It really scared the government that a group of rebel slaves would dare to kidnap the Governor and take the capitol. This act of conspiracy by Gabriel and his followers sure changed things in Virginia, but not for the good of the slaves. The local militia in Virginia increased its surveillance on them. Authorities restricted their travel and communication even more than before. Abolition societies ceased operations in Virginia. Free blacks had to leave the state within six months or risk re-enslavement. The entire state of Virginia was scared. One good thing about Gabriel's plan was that it gave blacks and slaves a sense of hope: even thought Gabriel's battle wasn't won, another one might be! Perhaps freedom was within their grasp!
Learning From a Terrible Past
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Rebecca - The unluckiest lottery winner