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Margaret Washington, historian on
black rebellion

Margaret Washington WASHINGTON: There was a tradition of black rebellion that John Brown could draw on, as well. In 1800, the year he was born, the Gabriel Conspiracy in Virginia had been planned, and very, very wide scale planning, and in 1800, the year that John Brown was born, Nat Turner was also born. And Nat Turner's rebellion in 1831 was reverberated all over the country, both in the rise of the abolition movement and in the paranoia in the South -- [it] had a deep effect on the North as well as the South. And, of course, there was the 1829 Petition that David Walker wrote in which he called for African Americans to rise up against their oppressors and to end slavery by their own hands. And John Brown's friend, Henry Highland Garnet, who was a Presbyterian minister, had stated in 1843 at the Black Convention that the African Americans should resist bondage by violence. And he coined the phrase, "let resistance be your motto." And had it not been for Frederick Douglass, who showed up at that meeting, it's very likely that the Black Convention Movement in 1843 would have voted for violence against slavery instead of moral suasion.

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