Black Resistance: Family, Gender, and Slave Politics in Denmark Vesey's Conspiracy


ACLS HBCU Faculty Fellowships


History and Government


“Black Resistance: Family, Gender, and Slave Politics in Denmark Vesey’s Conspiracy” is a history that interrogates the silences in the archive on Black women and Vesey’s conspiracy. The preliminary arguments presented in this study are twofold. First, the ways in which Black women waged their political battles against slavery in South Carolina was informed by slave politics. Second, the genesis of the insurrection had its origins in community resistance strategies that enslaved women established. Slave politics or the politics of the unfree operated outside of the electoral arena and functioned in tandem with cultural politics and movement politics of the abolitionist movement. The covert politics that enslaved women embraced defies the notion of a gender code that made enslaved men more apt to rebel and exclude enslaved women from their plans to rebel. Ultimately, slave politics of Charleston and surrounding areas allowed the conspiracy to grow and thrive and African American women were facilitators in keeping the secrets of the conspiracy in its planning and afterlife.