May 8th: Gabriel

10 May

Gabriel was an enslaved blacksmith in the Richmond, Virginia area who was planning a slave revolt in 1800. Someone snitched, and as a result Gabriel and 26 others were murdered- hung at the Negro Burial Ground in Richmond- the place that is currently covered by 1-95 and a VCU parking lot.

While Gabriel and the others were not able to actually begin the revolt, the threat of a revolt was enough to scare many white people in Virginia.

In 2007 Governor Kaine pardoned Gabriel and the others involved.

1776- October 10, 1800

Insurrectionary resistance to slavery is a good example of the way oppressed people can react to their oppression. When there are no other options, violent revolt can be the only path to liberty. The people who died fighting to be free and to help others be free deserve to have their memories honored. More passive opposers of slavery were not effective enough in producing change for the people forced to live in slavery. It was over half a century before slavery was finally abolished. Pacifism is a privilege, one that Gabriel and others held in slavery did not have.

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