Reclaim Our History Jan. 1-15 2013

By • on January 2, 2013 9:44 am

Special Slave Rebellion Issue

Jan. 1, 1804: Haitian slaves, led by Jean Jacques Dessalines, declare independence. Haiti becomes first free black nation-state in the world; US refuses to recognize Haiti for the next 70 or so years. 1832: First meeting of New England Anti-Slavery Society. 1834: “On the first of January, 1834, I left Mr. Covey, and went to live with Mr. William Freeland, who lived about three miles from St. Michael’s. I soon found Mr. Freeland a very different man from Mr. Covey. Though not rich, he was what would be called an educated southern gentleman. Mr. Covey, as I have shown, was a well-trained negro-breaker and slave-driver.” Life changes in The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass: An American Slave, autobiographical account of slavery by Frederick Douglass. 1863: The provision of the Emancipation Proclamation freeing all slaves in rebel states goes into effect, although it has no legal weight since the rebel states are not under US authority. The actual proclamation, issued on Sep. 22, 1862, offered to let any rebel state that rejoined the union before this date keep slavery intact. The principle of what is today considered a document of freedom is that you cannot own another person unless you are loyal to the US.

Jan. 2, 1811: New Orleans Archdiocese’s date of death of Gilbert Andre, whose supposed death at the hands of rebel slaves six days later began the New Orleans slave uprising. Recent scholarship points to white fears over American abolitionism (New Orleans being, at that time, under French rule) and the successful rebellion in Haiti as the cause of the “uprising.”

Jan. 3, 1801: Toussaint L’Ouverture, a hero of the Haitian Revolution, leads invasion of neighboring Santo Domingo and frees slaves there.

Jan. 5, 1715: Advertisement in Boston newspaper offered for sale Indian woman “fit for all manner of household work.”

Jan. 6, 1831: First world anti-slavery convention held.

Jan. 8, 1811: Beginning of slave revolt in New Orleans. Once reviled as a minor insurrection by a “band of brigands out to pillage and plunder”, recent studies reveal the uprising nearly went beyond the three-day event it ultimately became. A “cosmopolitan black republicanism” was noted to be functioning in the numerous maroon colonies in the bayou, from which rebels had been making incursions for several years. There is also evidence of battle-hardened soldiers from Ghana and Angola marching in formation, in uniform, with cavalry support, with a goal of taking New Orleans and establishing a black state.

Jan. 11, 1811: Militia captures Charles Desiondes, considered leader of the New Orleans slave revolt, after killing over 45 others. They chop off his hands, shoot him multiple times and then burn him to death. 29 slaves were tried and beheaded, their heads being put on pikes outside plantations and on the city gates, in order to intimidate other potential rebels.

Jan. 12, 1799: The French generals in Haiti name Toussaint L’Ouverture as lead commander, inadvertently helping train him for his future role as revolutionary.

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