Denmark Vesey (Telemaque) Fact 1: He was a famous slave who was also known by the name Telemaque. He was born around 1767 in Charleston, South Carolina in the United States of America.
Denmark Vesey (Telemaque) Fact 2: At the age of 14, Denmark Vesey (Telemaque) was purchased by a slave merchant called Joseph Vesey. He was later sold to a planter in Haiti who returned him to his original owner, Joseph Vesey, when he found that Denmark suffered from epilepsy.
Denmark Vesey (Telemaque) Fact 3: Historians have suggested that Denmark Vesey (Telemaque) faked epileptic fits to escape his life in Haiti. Surviving records provide no evidence to suggest he suffered with epilepsy later in life.
Denmark Vesey (Telemaque) Fact 4: Slave trader, Joseph Vesey, was a sea captain in Bermuda. Denmark Vesey (Telemaque) worked as his personal assistant and interpreter. He was able to speak English, French and Spanish.
Denmark Vesey (Telemaque) Fact 5: Joseph Vesey retired from his position following the American Revolution. He settled in Charleston and hired Denmark (Telemaque) out as a skilled carpenter.
Denmark Vesey (Telemaque) Fact 6: He was very fortunate when he became a lottery winner on November 9th, 1799. He won $1500 which was more than enough to buy his freedom from Joseph Vesey. His freedom cost $600.
Denmark Vesey (Telemaque) Fact 7: He started his own carpentry business. At this time, he took on his name Denmark Vesey. His surname came from the surname of his former slave owner and his first name derived from his birthplace of St Thomas.
Denmark Vesey (Telemaque) Fact 8: He was married to a woman who was a slave. They had two children together but due to the laws of partus sequitur ventrem at the time, the children took on the same status as their mother which meant that they too were slaves. Denmark tried to buy his family's freedom but their master wouldn't allow it.
Denmark Vesey (Telemaque) Fact 9: He was a religious man, he belonged to the Second Presbyterian church. Black people were sadly restricted as they were not allowed to worship after sunset. Denmark co-founded a congregation of the AME Church. AME stands for African Methodist Episcopal. It became the second biggest church of its type in the nation!
Denmark Vesey (Telemaque) Fact 10: After buying his own freedom, he tried to help his enslaved friends with their battle for freedom. Around 10% of black people living in the city were members of the AME Church where Denmark was a preacher. Many of them became his followers.
Denmark Vesey (Telemaque) Fact 11: In 1820, he and some of his enslaved friends started planning a revolt. A revolt can be described as a planned attack or attempt to end the authority of a person or body. To do this successfully, Denmark needed a strong group of people behind him. He could preach to people and begin recruiting his members through church.
Denmark Vesey (Telemaque) Fact 12: He planned the revolt for July 14th, 1822 on Bastille Day (French National Day which commemorates the start of the French Revolution). The news spread throughout the population of black people living in Charleston and its surrounding areas. With great support from both free and enslaved blacks, Denmark planned to commandeer ships and sail to Haiti.
Denmark Vesey (Telemaque) Fact 13: As so many people became involved, he felt afraid that word would break out about his planned revolt. He decided to bring the date forward to July 14th. Word did get out when two slaves, who were incredibly loyal to their owners, told officials that the revolt was planned for July 14th.
Denmark Vesey (Telemaque) Fact 14: The city was put on alert when Mayor James Hamilton was informed of the planned rebellion. He arranged a citizens' militia to patrol the streets whilst they looked their suspects.
Denmark Vesey (Telemaque) Fact 15: He was arrested, and following a court case, he was sentenced to death alongside five other men. The men faced execution by handing on July 2nd, 1822. They hadn't confessed anything and declared their innocence to the end.
Short Facts about Denmark Vesey for Kids
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