Black Rebellion, a fascinating account of five slave insurrections, among them the story of the Maroons, escaped slaves in the West Indies and South America who successfully resisted larger British armies while living an independent existence for generations in the mountains and jungles of Jamaica and Surinam; of Gabriel Prosser, who recruited about 1,000 fellow slaves in 1800 to launch a rebellion throughout Virginia; of Denmark Vesey, an ex-slave, seaman, and artisan, fluent in several languages, who conspired in 1822 to kill the white citizens of Charleston, South Carolina, and take over the city; and of the revolutionary mystic Nat Turner, who in 1831 organized and led the most successful and dramatic slave revolt in North America. The author also describes how whites responded with panic, sweeping arrests, mass executions, and more repressive laws in a futile effort to crush the slaves' insatiable desire to be free.
Hawthorne in his 'Wonder Book' has described the beautiful Greek myths and traditions, but no one has yet made similar use of the wondrous tales that gathered for more than a thousand years about the islands of the Atlantic deep. Although they are a part of the mythical period of American history, these hazy legends were altogether disdained by the earlier historians; indeed, George Bancroft made it a matter of actual pride that the beginning of the American annals was bare and literal. But in truth no national history has been less prosaic as to its earlier traditions, because every visitor had to cross the sea to reach it, and the sea has always been, by the mystery of its horizon, the fury of its storms, and the variableness of the atmosphere above it, the foreordained land of romance.
Three times, at intervals of thirty years, did a wave of unutterable terror sweep across the Old Dominion, bringing thoughts of agony to every Virginian master, and of vague hope to every Virginian slave. Each time did one man's name become a spell of dismay and a symbol of deliverance. Each time did that name eclipse its predecessor, while recalling it for a moment to fresher memory: John Brown revived the story of Nat Turner, as in his day Nat Turned recalled the vaster schemes of Gabriel.-from "Gabriel's Defeat"Fired with an abolitionist's passion, these five true accounts of slave uprisings in Latin America and the United States are among the best writings we have of the struggle to end slavery in the Western hemisphere. Written by a dedicated antislavery crusader and first published in the Atlantic Monthly in the 1850s and 1860s, these highly readable essays combine in-depth research with assured, absorbing prose to tell fascinating and important stories: of black warrior societies of the "Maroons," descendents of escaped slaves who lived in the jungles of the West Indies and South America; of Gabriel, whose dedication to throwing off the shackles of oppression turned him into a figure with an almost mystical aura; and Nat Turner's furious insurrection; and more.American author and civil-rights activist THOMAS WENTWORTH HIGGINSON (1823 -1911) also wrote Army Life in a Black Regiment (1870) and Common Sense About Women (1881).
The Civil War, the most dramatic moment in this nation's history, also produced some of our greatest literature. From tragic charges to prison escapes to the desolation wrought on those who stayed behind, Blood is an extraordinary collection of reminiscences, fiction, and excerpts from diaries and letters by an array of soldiers, writers and observers that includes Abraham Lincoln, General George Pickett, Walt Whitman, Ulysses S. Grant and Stephen Crane.