Denmark Vesey – circa 1767–1822
Vesey was a self-educated slave who purchased his freedom in 1800 (using $600 won in a street lottery). While free, he read anti-slavery literature and became radicalized. He organized perhaps as many as 9,000 slaves in and around Charleston, South Carolina, in a revolt that called for seizure of arsenals, the killing of all whites, and the destruction of the city. Tipped off by a house servant, authorities crushed the rebellion just before it began. Of approximately 130 blacks arrested and tried, 67 were convicted and 35, including Vesey, were hanged. It was the most extensive planned slave revolt in U.S. history.