2019 Conference

The Vesey Conspiracy at 200:
Black Anti-Slavery in the Atlantic World

In preparation for a volume of essays to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the “Denmark Vesey Conspiracy” of 1822, the Carolina Lowcountry in the Atlantic World Program (CLAW) at the College of Charleston held a small conference on enslaved and free black anti-slavery, February 8-10, 2019.

Image: “Sustenance Rice” by Jonathan Green (used with permission)

February 8 – 10, 2019
College of Charleston
Addlestone Library

Cosponsored by the Carolina Lowcountry in the Atlantic World Program at the College of Charleston and by Soka University of America


Friday, February 8

Stono Rebellion sites:
8:30 am – 12:30 pm
Meet at 8:30 am behind Addlestone Library at the College of Charleston (205 Calhoun St.)

REGISTRATION OPEN: Noon – 2pm (Addlestone 127)


Panel 1 – 2:15pm – 3:45pm Survivance & Memory 1           (Addlestone 227)

Sarah Stegeman – Imagined Africa in Nineteenth-Century America

Terri L. Snyder – Slavery, Resistance, and Memory in South Carolina and Georgia

Ethan Kytle and Blain Roberts – Freedom Fighter or Attila the Hun? How Charlestonians Remembered Vesey, 1822-2014

Panel 2 – 4:00pm – 5:30pm: Comparative Free Black Abolition   (Addlestone 227)

Kelli Cardenas Walsh – Resistance to slavery by two freemen from North Carolina

Maria Alejandra Aguilar Dornelles – Heroes of Freedom: Leadership and Black heroism in Pre-Abolition Rio de Janeiro

Lucien Holness – African American Antislavery Activism in Southwestern Pennsylvania

RECEPTION:  5:45 – 8:30: Reception & Keynote (Addlestone Library, third floor)

Keynote: “Denmark Vesey, South Carolina, and Haiti: Borne, Bound and Battered by the Common Wind”
Bernard Powers, PhD

Introduction by Simon Lewis

Saturday, February 9

Breakfast and Late Registration 
– 8:00am – 9:00am (Addlestone 127)

Panel 3 – 9:00am – 10:30am: Knowing Legacies    (Addlestone 227)

Jessica S. Samuel – African American Youth and Overlooked Traditional Ways of Knowing

Rachel C. Kirby – Painting Away the Shackles of Slavery: Exploring Jonathan Green’s Depictions of an “Unenslaved” Lowcountry

Aretha Phiri – Resisting Legacies of Enslavement: A Literary Analysis

Panel 4 – 10:45 – 12:15pm: Black Fugitivity in the Contemporary World (Addlestone 227)

Jesse Olsavsky – Fugitive Slaves, Abolitionists, and the Critique of the Prison

Cheryl E. Mango – Black Radicalism, Black Consciousness, Black History, and Black YouTube

Karen Salt & Lisa Robinson – Resistance to Memory: Movement Loss, Protest Ghosts, & the Racial Life of Fugitivity.

Boxed Lunch Plenary – 12:30pm – 2:00pm: “Black Resistance to Slavery and Racism: American and African Histories”    (Addlestone 227)

Brandon Byrd (Vanderbilt), Douglas Egerton (Le Moyne), Ada Ferrer (NYU), Samuel Ntewusu (University of Ghana), Manisha Sinha (University of Connecticut-Storrs), and Rebecca Shumway (College of Charleston). James Spady (Soka University, chair). Comment by attendees.

Panel 5 – 2:15pm – 3:45pm: Surivance & Memory (Addlestone 227)

Patrick H. Breen – On Resistance

William D. Jones – The Irony of St. Malo: Memories of Rebellion in Nineteenth-Century Louisiana

Douglas R. Egerton – “To See What He Could Do for His Fellow Creatures”: Enslaved Women, Families, and Survivors in North American Slave Conspiracies

Comment: Jason Sharples

Panel 6 – 4:00pm – 5:30pm: Re-writing Slave Resistance     (Addlestone 227)

Anita Rupprect & Cathy Bergin – Writing Reparative Histories of Connection: The 1831 Tortola Slave Conspiracy in the Atlantic World

Brent Morris – “The Celebrated bandit Joe”: Uncovering Forest Joe’s Lowcountry Maroon Campaign of 1821-1823

Susanna Ashton – The White Preacher & the Black Slave Lecturer

Robert L. Paquette – Before Denmark Vesey: Federalists and ‘French Negroes’ in the Politics of Lowcountry South Carolina

KEYNOTE: 7:00pm (Addlestone Library, third floor)

Introductory remarks: James Spady

Keynote: Michael Moore (Executive Director of the International African American Museum)

Sunday, February 10: Tours and Special Events (some details TBA)

Visit: Sunday service at Mother Emanuel

Special event: Denmark Vesey’s Garden book event 2:00pm in the new George C. McDaniel Education Center at Drayton Hall. This event is now SOLD OUT! 

Selected Hotels in Downtown Charleston

A number of local hotels offer discounts for people attending College of Charleston events. Use this link to access discounted codes and registration pages:  https://www.campustravel.com/university/cofc/visit_cofc.html

Additional Lodging Options

NotSoHostel, 156 Spring Street, Charleston, SC
Nightly Rates: $28-$106 a night

Cost-effective hotel options are also available in nearby Mt. Pleasant, West Ashley,  and North Charleston if you have access to vehicle, use taxis or Uber, or you can use Charleston’s public transportation system, CARTA: http://www.ridecarta.com/.

Transportation around Charleston
and from Charleston Airport

Taxis and Shuttles, Car Rental or CARTA Bus

Parking at the College of Charleston

Visitor Parking

Book & Publication display: A publications exhibit featuring works (available for purchase) by conference presenters will be on display in the Addlestone Library. Books may also be on sale in the college bookstore.

Acknowledgements: Thanks to the conference planning committee: James Spady, Simon Keith Lewis, Joseph P. Kelly, and Rebecca Shumway. Thanks also to Mary Jo Fairchild, Daron Calhoun, Vincent Fraley, Clare Lorenzo, Tyler Mobley, Carin Rogers-Bronstein, and John W. White. The conference organizers wish to acknowledge the generous support of Soka University of America and especially The College of Charleston for making this event possible.