The Sunday newspaper article about a gospel folk opera on Denmark Vesey’s life repeats the predictable narrative that apparently is gospel among The Post and Courier staff, portraying Vesey as an heroic figure who “agitated for others’ education and freedom.”
The detailed testimony of Vesey’s 1822 trial shows that he mostly agitated for murder, and that the only education he offered was in showing how ruthless his hatred of others had become.
The article states that “not a lot of details are known” about Vesey’s plan for a slave uprising.
Yet nine of his co-conspirators, Rolla Bennett, Jesse Blackmon, Frank Ferguson, Jack Pritchard, Harry Haig, Smart Anderson, Monday Gell, John Enslow and Baccus Hammet, all gave graphic accounts about Vesey’s obsession with vengeance, and his murderous scheme that targeted men, women and children throughout the city.
The Sunday story never mentions the blood-thirsty revelations in this documented evidence and seems to dismiss the trial proceedings as if they were some elaborate hoax created to obscure the truth.
Among the Charlestonians who were members of the Vesey court were Joel Roberts Poinsett and Robert Young Hayne, men whose lengthy careers as highly respected statesmen and diplomats hardly indicate that they were given to conspiracy.
The past is often clouded with uncertainty and deception, but in the Vesey case, it is clear from substantial evidence what a murderous rampage he intended, and brought on the execution that he and others who would carry out such horrors so richly deserve.
Oak Park Drive