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     While African slavery the United States is traditionally dated from 1619, African peoples have been enslaved in the Americas since shortly after the advent of European exploration. African peoples have also consistently resisted their enslavement during every stage of the enslavement process; beginning with their capture, extending through their enslavement and ending with their death. While enslaved Africans were in the forefront of efforts to cast off the yokes of slavery, they were also often those who betrayed the efforts at resistance. Such was the case with Gabriel Prosser's rebellion of August 1800. A well planned effort that involved some 1000 Blacks in an anticipated attack upon Richmond, Virginia, Prosser's widespread conspiracy was first betrayed by the forces of nature, whose tremendous storms interfered with the planned uprising. The most telling betrayal, however, came from an enslavee who told white authorities of the planned uprising and guaranteed its failure. In honor of the bicentennial of this seminal effort by Gabriel Prosser, and others who preceded and followed him, HUArchives Net has focused this issue upon "Slavery and Resistance." We deeply appreciate the efforts of guest editors Edna Medford and Selwyn Carrington in helping us to focus the wide-ranging discussion.

     The feature articles are designed to reflect some of the earliest efforts of Blacks to attain their freedom and the various methods enslaved Africans used in their strides toward freedom. As usual, items are included to introduce young people to the complexities of the enslaving experiences. Especially useful are the calendar of revolts and the bibliographic resources, which are designed to stimulate further research. As we also celebrate the bicentennial of Washington as the nation's capital, it is useful to remind ourselves that it was once characterized as the "Slave Market of America." The Pearl incident helps to understand that betrayal by Blacks was common to revolts, both rural and urban. We hope "Slavery and Resistance" stimulates you to learn more about the centuries long efforts of enslaved Africans to resist and to seek their freedom.

Thomas C. Battle, Ph.D.
Director,
Moorland-Spingarn Research Center

 

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HUAN 5 
August 2000