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Sun, 12.14.1800

Gullah Jack, Abolitionist born

Insurrection Plot document

*The birth of Gullah Jack is celebrated on this date in c 1800. He was an African conjurer and abolitionist. 

Little was known about his background, except that he was from Angola and was shipped from Zanzibar to America under Zephaniah Kingsley's direction. He was sent first to Florida, to the Kingsley Plantation. Also known as Counter Jack and sometimes referred to as "Gullah" Jack Pritchard, he was a slave to Paul Pritchard in Charleston, South Carolina. However, in 1812, after a Seminole raid on the Kingsley Plantation, he escaped to Charleston, South Carolina, where Pritchard eventually purchased him in 1821.

Gullah Jack is historically known for his role as a co-conspirator, along with Denmark Vesey, in planning the large slave rebellion that would become known as Denmark Vesey's slave conspiracy in 1822. Both Vesey and Gullah Jack were involved with the AME Church in Charleston. At the AME Church, Vesey recruited Gullah Jack for his planned uprising in Charleston. Using his Africa-based influences, Gullah Jack was crucial in recruiting African slaves as soldiers and provided them with charms as protection against the "buckra" (whites). He is also said to have used his spiritual powers to terrify others into keeping silent about the conspiracy.

Historians believe Jack's strong African culture, contrasted with Vesey's preaching, helped attract many slaves who joined the revolt. The Vesey plot involved taking over the state armory to arm slaves from rural areas and the local sea islands, who would rise and assist the others in revolt. The slaves would then kill the whites of Charleston, take the city, and finally use the city's ships to escape to Haiti, where slaves had overthrown the white government and now ruled. Eventually, the Vesey plot was leaked by other slaves coerced into confession.

Gullah Jack was arrested for his part in the plot on July 5, 1822, and was tried for his role in the planning, along with 130 others. Ultimately, South Carolina authorities hanged Vesey, Gullah Jack, and 34 other leading conspirators on July 12, 1822.

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