The Stono Slave Rebellion kicked off on September 9, 1793 with a group of 20 rebels killing two South Carolina gun shop owners before arming themselves, heading south to Florida for freedom, rescuing other slaves along the route, and destroying any oppressors who dared block their way.
But time was of the essence as 20 white militia men closed in.
The rebellion ended with dozens of enslaved and slaveowners killed, while those enslaved who survived the standoff were captured and executed.
An immediate 10-year moratorium was placed on trading African slaves (who were thought to be “too aggressive”), but that didn’t give enough reassurance that there would be no more bloodshed.
Then came the Negro Act of 1740...
The act attempted to control the minds and movement of the enslaved using slave codes.
The codes banned teaching slaves to read or write, gather without white supervision, grow their own food, or even dress decently for over a century.
Today, we continue to fight laws that systematically restrict access within our communities to quality education, clean water, nourishing food, and even our right to gather without police surveillance and harassment.
All this stems from a fear that one day, Black people will be empowered to rise up and violently free ourselves from our oppression, the way enslaved Africans attempted to by the Stono River.