Gabriel's Slave Rebellion IntroductionGabriel's Rebellion was a black slave rebellion that had been planned near Richmond Virginia in the summer of 1800 by a slave known as Gabriel Prosser. Even though the planned rebellion was stopped before it began it is an important event in black slavery history. The failed rebellion alarmed the white population in the south. Fearing future rebellions could be carried out white slave owners and others took harsh actions that limited slave's abilities to become educated and to meet in groups. On this page is a list of interesting facts about Gabriel's Rebellion including where it was planned, how it was found out, and what happened to the slaves involved. This information could be a great resource for kids writing Black History Month reports.
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Gabriel Prosser Facts
- Gabriel Prosser was a slave born in 1776 in Henrico County, Virginia.
- He had two brothers named Martin and Solomon.
- He lived on a tobacco plantation named Brookfield.
- He was trained as a blacksmith.
- As a young man he learned to read and write.
Interesting Gabriel's Slave Rebellion Facts
- Gabriel had planned on leading slaves into Richmond Virginia; possibly to kidnap the governor.
- In 1800, prior to the failed rebellion, slaves around Richmond Virginia and many other parts of the south were allowed to move around with a great amount of freedom. Many were allowed to run unsupervised errands for their masters and were allowed to travel alone to jobs they had been hired out to do. This atmosphere allowed Gabriel to organize the rebellion.
- The rebellion had been planned to take place on August 30th of 1800 but was postponed due to rain.
- The planned revolt was found out prior to its being carried out. Two slaves revealed the plan to their suspicious slave owner.
- The state militia was mobilized to stop the rebellion and capture those involved.
- Gabriel fled to Norfolk Virginia but was later betrayed by another slave for a reward that had been offered.
- Gabriel and twenty five other slaves, including his two brothers, were captured and hung on October 10th of 1800.
- The treatment of slaves in the south worsened due to the failed rebellion. Slave owners and others took steps aimed at eliminating the chance of future rebellions.
- The education of slaves was prohibited.
- Slaves were no longer allowed to assemble in large groups.
- The hiring out of slaves, to perform work for someone other than their owner, was prohibited.
- The travel of slaves between plantations and to jobs was monitored more closely.
- Freed slaves in Virginia were required leave the state within a certain time period or face re-enslavement.
Gabriel's Slave Rebellion Conclusion
- Prior to the planned rebellion the black slave population in Virginia made up nearly forty percent of the total state population with many of those slaves living close to the city of Richmond. The rebellion created a great fear among the white population that a rebellion once started may be unstoppable.
- In 2002, on the 202nd anniversary of Gabriel's Rebellion, Richmond Virginia passed a resolution in honor of Gabriel.
- An interesting fact is that on August 30th of 2007 Governor Kaine of Virginia pardoned Gabriel and his co-conspirators for the crime that they had been found guilty of in 1800.