The leader of an American slave revolt in Charleston, S.C., Denmark Vesey, b. Africa, 1767, d. July 2, 1822, had been owned by a slave-ship captain before he purchased his freedom (1800) with $600 won in a street lottery. As a freedman in Charleston, he worked at carpentry, became a leader of his church, and read antislavery literature. Determined to strike a blow against the institution that had victimized him, he devised an intricate conspiracy for an uprising in Charleston and vicinity during the summer of 1822. Informers divulged the plot, however, and 35 blacks, including Vesey, were executed.
Bibliography: Lofton, John, Insurrection in South Carolina: The Turbulent World of Denmark Vesey (1964) and Denmark Vesey's Revolt (1983); Starobin, Robert S., ed., Denmark Vesey: The Slave Conspiracy of 1822 (1970).