What does Stono Rebellion represent in African American history?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Stono Rebellion represents the level to which slaves turned in order to obtain freedom from their bondage.  In one of the most intense displays of violence giving birth to violence, the Stono Rebellion showed how much anger and vengeance slavery had constructed within African- American consciousness.  The insurrection displayed this as slaves marched along, killing nearly any White person they encountered.  While the repression in South Carolina, and White slaveowning society in general, was designed to avoid uprisings like Stono, it actually paved the way for them.  

The Stono Rebellion is significant to African- American history because represents the desire of the powerless to claim some semblance of power and autonomy.  It represents how African- American history is filled with examples of resistance.  While the reality of slavery creates much in way of sadness in the African- American historical narrative, it also features moments in which anger and a desire to wrestle control back are essential parts of the narrative.  The Stono Rebellion was one of those moments, where the call to action through violence became part of the slave narrative. The disproportionate response of White slaveowners to the rebellion becomes another significant element to the history of the Stono uprising.  This, too, becomes significant in African- American history as it shows the road to freedom is long, painful, and complex.  Stono Rebellion and its aftermath reflect this reality.

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