This essay is incomplete. Thank you for understanding and please check back for a completed version. The following excerpt is adapted from Storied and Scandalous Charleston.
Denmark Vesey and the people who were accused of plotting a slave rebellion with him were executed on July 2, 1822, following their conviction.
Because city officials were concerned a riot might ensue at Vesey's execution, he and several other leaders were quietly taken from the District Jail between 6 and 8 a.m. and driven at least two miles out of town for their hangings. By the end of August, another 131 slaves and free blacks had also been arrested for their connections to the conspiracy and incarcerated in the District Jail.
Thirty of them were released without a trial, and two died while in custody before they could be tried. Of the 101 blacks who were tried, 23 were acquitted and three were
found not guilty but sent to the Sugar House to be whipped anyway. Vesey’s daughter Sandy and 36 others were found guilty and sent to Cuba to be sold there. One, the Rev. Morris Brown, pastor of the AME Church, was allowed to go to Philadelphia, with the understanding that he could be arrested if he ever returned to South Carolina. His church was razed. The remaining 35 black prisoners were found guilty and hanged. Four white men who were convicted of being involved in the plot were found guilty, but not executed.
One of the numerous consequences of the purported Slave Rebellion of 1822 was a new state law that required any black sailor, free or enslaved, to remain on his ship while in port. City leaders were concerned that black
sailors would bring in news of other slave rebellions around the Atlantic or Caribbean, contributing to local tensions that continued to build throughout the first half of the 19th century. Black sailors who came ashore and were captured, regardless of whether any wrongdoing was involved, were incarcerated in the Old Jail and released only if “redeemed” by their captain for a fee. If the captain did not pay the fine for the return of his sailors by the time their ship had sailed, leaving them behind, they would be sold into slavery.