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Week of August 30-September 5

August 30


1800—The Gabriel Prosser-led slave rebellion is stopped before it can start because of bad weather and betrayal by two slaves who told their White masters of the impending revolt. Gabriel had meticulously planned the rebellion and organized an estimated 1,000 slaves to participate in an attack on Richmond, Va. One historian described the 24-year-old, 6’3” rebel as “a fellow of courage and intellect above his rank in life.” After the betrayal, Gabriel and 15 of his co-conspirators were hanged on Oct. 10, 1800. (Note: Most history texts refer to him as Gabriel Prosser, but, although he was a slave of Tomas Prosser, there is no indication that he ever used “Prosser” as his last name.)

1838—The first African American owned magazine, Mirror of Freedom, begins publication on this day in New York City.



1966—Prominent civil rights attorney Constance Baker Motley is confirmed to the U.S. District Court in New York. She thus became the first African American female to hold a seat on the federal bench. Motley had participated in the historic Brown v. Board of Education case which led to the desegregation of the nation’s schools. She was also an advisor to civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Motley died in September 2005.

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