Gabriel's Rebellion

"Gabriel, the day before" acrylic on birch plywood,
24" x 24", Ana Edwards, 2005
"No other State of the Union has thus found it necessary to protect is State-House by a permanent cordon of bayonets; indeed, the Constitution expressly prohibits to any State a standing army, however small. Yet there for sixty years has stood sentinel the "Public Guard" of Virginia, wearing the suicidal motto of that decaying Commonwealth, "Sic semper Tyrannis"; and when one asked the origin of the precaution, one learned that it was the lasting memorial of Gabriel's insurrection, the stern heritage of terror bequeathed by his defeat." Thomas Wentworth Higginson, "Gabriel's Defeat," The Atlantic Monthly, September 1862, p. 345 (337–345).

Gabriel's Rebellion and the "Burial Ground for Negroes" were the founding projects of the Sacred Ground Historical Reclamation Project. Since 2004 the story of Gabriel's Rebellion and its many legacies has offered contexts from which to understand the origins and evolution of Richmond, Virginia, and the United States in its earliest years. 

by Phil Wilayto, Virginia Defenders

by Ana Edwards, Sacred Ground Project

prepared on Google Maps by Ana Edwards, Sacred Ground Project


  • Gabriel's Rebellion: A Document History by Philip Schwarz, 2012
  • Death or Liberty by Douglas Egerton, 2012
  • Whispers of Rebellion by Michael Nicholls, 2012
  • Ploughshares into Swords: Race, Rebellion and Identity in Gabriel's Virginia by James Sidbury, 1997
  • Gabriel's Rebellion: The Virginia Slave Conspiracies of 1800 and 1802 by Douglas Egerton, 1993
  • American Negro Slave Revolts by Herbert Aptheker, 1943

  • Come August, Come Freedom: The Bellows, The Gallows and The Black General Gabriel by Gigi Amateau, 2012
  • Black Thunder by Arna Bontemps, 1937


Gabriel (Hanged for leading a slave-revolt) by Robert Hayden, 1940, published in 1966. Broadside in collection of National Museum of African American History and Culture.


"Prosser's Gabriel" by Tim Barry, Richmond VA 

"Rise Up, Rise Up, Fight for your Liberty" by Nancy Rives, Teacher, St. Gertrude's High School


Henrico County Public Relations & Media

A Northern Virginia Community College produced a film, an organized passion project, ‘Gabriel’s Revolt’ that spanned over eight years was fueled by the dedication and commitment of the faculty and students here at the college. This historically accurate timepiece was shot at all the original sites where the protagonist visited centuries ago. 

Lecture by Douglas Egerton, PhD, Gabriel's Rebellion: The Virginia Slave Conspiracies of 1800 and 1802 (1993), for Historic St. John's Episcopal Church, Richmond, Virginia. This Virtual Program was presented as part of the Walter W. Craigie Speaker Series on May 12, 2021.


Rebellion in the Early Republic - Gabriel’s Rebellion • Season 20 Episode 5 of American Story Tellers, a podcast by Lindsay Graham, narrator and producer. 

Popular Posts