The Bloody Slave Revolt Is The Subject Of A Slave Cabin Lecture

The Stono Rebellion, South Carolina’s largest slave revolt nearly three centuries ago, is the subject of the seventh annual Slave Dwelling Project Conference in September at the College of Charleston.

The lecture, Stono’s Rebellion and the Atlantic World, is an in-depth look at the rebellion, the largest and deadliest slave revolt in colonial British North America led by enslaved Africans along the Stono River near the present Caw Caw Interpretive Center south of Charleston.

On September 9, 1739, a group of about 20 enslaved Africans armed themselves, killed two white men at the Hutchinson store, and marched to freedom in Spanish Florida before being captured and hanged. The uprising ended with the deaths of 30 whites and 44 Africans.

Speakers scheduled for the conference, Sept. 8-10, include national scholars, researchers, and two public school educators from North Carolina and Florida who teach about slavery and black resistance as some lawmakers across the country are trying to ban these subjects in classrooms.

In South Carolina, a grassroots coalition of civil rights and education groups succeeded in the last legislative session in stopping five so-called critical race theory (CRT) bills that would smash the teaching of race. history, if it included sex, race and slavery. Although Stono’s Rebellion is not specifically mentioned in the standards for South Carolina students, it does appear as suggested content to explore in the alignment guide for 8th grade, said Derek Phillips, director of communications for the SC Department of Education. “It could be part of 4th grade, 6th grade, or United States history and Constitution content, if a teacher chose to include that content in instruction.”

Co-panelists Valencia Abbott, an educator from North Carolina, and Brigitta McTigue, a retired teacher from Florida, will discuss how they teach children difficult subjects such as slavery and rebellion. “Yes, I teach Nat Turner’s Rebellion!” is the title of Abbott’s address. She is a social studies teacher at Rockingham Early College High School in Wentworth, North Carolina. “What Slave Auction Notices Reveal About the Lives of Early African Americans” is McTigue’s presentation. She is a retired teacher at Park Vista Community High School in Lake Worth, Florida.

Abbott said that because she teaches high school at a first middle school, she has more leeway than traditional teachers. “I don’t know what is taught at lower grade levels, but with my interaction with a summer program for our school district for elementary and middle school students, I found that no student knew what I considers basic knowledge of black history, like who Jackie Robinson is,” the first black man to play in major league baseball, she said. “That was before the CRT pushback, so i’m pretty sure [there is] less emphasis on black history or topics that teachers fear may be controversial. I’ve heard teachers say they don’t plan to teach anything about slavery. [A teacher] doesn’t really teach US history or even world history unless slavery is covered.

The slaves who participated in the Stono Rebellion made their way to Spanish Florida where they were promised freedom if they fought for Spain against the English. Prior to the rebellion, runaway slaves from the Carolina Colony established Fort Mose in 1738 north of St. Augustine, the first town of free blacks in the present-day United States. They also joined with the indigenous people, the Seminoles, to fight two wars against American soldiers before they were defeated and pushed west of the Mississippi River. (https://fortmose.org/about-fortmose/)

McTigue said, “I don’t think most students in Florida learn about the relationship between the Stono Rebellion and Fort Mose, Spanish Florida and the Black Seminoles. The reason for this is that although the eighth-grade United States history curriculum covers the colonial period, state standards do not require this specific subject to be taught. Some teachers may choose to include this information, however.

The United States history class in Florida is required in eleventh grade, but it begins with the Civil War and continues chronologically “so colonial America is not covered in the curriculum for this class,” McTigue said. . “I taught an elective in high school called African and African American History, and in my class I taught Stono Rebellion and Fort Mose. [Students] found it interesting that Fort Mose was the first free black settlement in what is now the United States. They also acknowledged the fact that although Fort Mose is a very important historical site, most Florida residents have probably never heard of it.

Joseph McGill, founder of the Slave Dwelling Project, said some politicians fear the truth about slavery and use the feelings of white students to oppose black history. “They continue to allow white supremacy to exist by defining the teaching of black history as a critical theory of race. They protect the roles played by white people by allowing racism and white privilege to persist. This fringe element has a powerful voice and wants these children to become the racists that they are. The conference is our attempt to shed some light on this.

Hosted by the Slave Dwelling Project, the conference is a collaboration with the National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom Program and the Carolina Lowcountry and Atlantic World Program (CLAW) at the college. (For more details, visit: www.slavedwellingproject.org)

The Lasting Effect of Rebellion

Cato, sometimes called Jemmy, led Stono’s rebellion. He was able to write. Most of the slaves who followed him were probably born along the Loango coast, which includes present-day Angola and Congo. After the uprising, the colonial government of South Carolina tightened slavery codes, making it illegal for Africans to learn to write.

In the 1930s, Cato’s great-great-grandson, George Cato, 50, of Columbia, told a Federal Writers Project interviewer that the revolt had been part of his family’s oral tradition for 198 years. . George Cato told the interviewer after Cato and his followers were captured, “Commander Cato speaks for the mob. He says, “We don’t know slavery. We are starting to jine from Spanish to Florida. We surrender but we are not whipped yet and we are not ‘converted’. The other 43 say ‘Amen’. They were taken, disarmed and hanged by the militia. Long before the uprising, Cato’s slave wrote passes for slaves and did everything he could to send them to freedom. He died but he died for doing good, as he sees it.

Summerville was founded in 1847 by settlers who had moved to the area from the Stono River rice-planting area, said Summerville historian Ed West. Edward Huthinson, Summerville’s first mayor or steward, was a second-generation relative of the Hutchinsons, who operated the store that was tied down during the rebellion, he said.

“I don’t have the genealogical work on the Hutchinson lineage to link Edward Hutchinson to the owner of the Hutchinson store at the Stono over a century earlier,” West conceded. “It is only reasonable speculation that the Hutchinsons of Summerville had 18th century roots in the Stono rice plantation area.”


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