The New York Slave Revolt of 1712
was an uprising in New York City
of 23 enslaved African Americans
in which nine whites
were shot, stabbed, or beaten to death and six other whites were injured.
Conditions in New York were ripe for rebellion. It was easier for slaves there to plan a conspiracy than it was for those on plantations. Enslaved blacks lived within close proximity of each other, making communication easy. They often worked among free blacks, a situation that was impossible on a plantation.
The blacks got together in the middle of the night on April 6, 1712, and set fire to a building on Maiden Lane near Broadway. While the white colonists tried to put out the fire, the enslaved African Americans attacked them and ran off.
Seventy blacks were arrested and put in jail. Six are reported to have committed suicide. Twenty-seven were put on trial, twenty-one of whom were convicted and sentenced to death. Twenty were burned to death
and one was executed on a breaking wheel
, a form of punishment no longer used on whites at the time.
After the revolt, laws governing the lives of blacks in New York were made more restrictive. African Americans were not permitted to gather in groups of more than three, they were not permitted to carry firearms
, and gambling was outlawed. Other crimes, such as property damage, rape, and conspiracy to kill, were punishable by death. Free blacks were no longer allowed to own land. Slave owners who decided to free their slaves
were required to pay a tax of £200, a price much higher than the price of a slave.
- Johnson, Mat, The Great Negro Plot, 2007, ISBN 1582340994
- Berlin, Ira and Harris, Leslie, Slavery in New York, 2005 (New Press)
- Horton, James and Lois, Slavery and the Making of America, 2005, (Oxford)
- Katz, William Loren, Black Legacy, A History of New York's African Americans, 1997 (Atheneum)