This document was a letter from an anonymous citizen written in Richmond, Virginia on August 28 and 31of 1831. The letter was a warning of a gathering of African Americans in Richmond at the Rural Shades. Rural Shades was from all indications was a version of the later Baptist church, although no positive answer has come forward. The sole purpose of gathering was to worship. This indicates that it could either be a warning to the higher authorities, or asking for permission. Either way, it is significant in the fact it could be considered for both ways. If it is a warning per say, then the surrounding countries could very well had been gearing up in fear of a new insurrection as the Turner Rebellion was ended just a handful of days prior. However, the citizens could very well see the seriousness of the actions that occurred, but instead are falling in line with asking government for the right to assemble. Problems between members of the church were all too common. One familiar case occurred with Baptist Church member named Dick who was a slave, and the clerk of the Church, William M. Jones, who accuses Dick of stealing. As previously thought, Virginians blamed the rise of black participation in evangelical communities as the reason for the rise of tension in the communities themselves. The white settlers were weary of social order, and authority for the free blacks in the community. Residual tensions were basic sources of religious inspiration and whether there should be oversight between whites and blacks within the church. The rebellion had an intimate feel to it on the bases that relationships between the slaves and the deceased were every day relationships as opposed to random killings. This overlap between religion and race relations were constant from that period on.
The repercussions of the Turner Rebellion were all well-known as they were in previous centuries in religious assembly laws for slaves. Assembly laws for the South included time, place, and manner of slave meetings. Reasons these laws set to dispel, “A moral indictment of the institution of slavery; and a pretense by which slaves could assemble for insurrectionary purposes.” First restrictions showed up during slave state constitutions and colonial codes. Early ritual restrictions were associated with “feasts and burials This included any meeting where family would meet as the purpose was to limit assembly. The remaining slaves often remained Non-Christian Africans during the seventh century. The colonial assembly back in 1680 passed The Act of 1680 in Virginia setting precedence for later repression legislator for coming centuries. Here is what the Act announces, “Whereas the frequent meetings of considerable numbers of Negro slaves under pre tense of feasts and burials is judged of dangerous consequence [it is] enacted that no Negro or slave may carry arms, such as any club, staff, gun, sword, or other weapon, nor go from his owner’s plantation without a certificate and then only on necessary occasions; the punishment twenty lashes on his back, well laid on.” This was looked at as the first time this construct of using legislation to restrict religion as a construct. Legislation in Virginia after Gabriel’s insurrection attempt in 1800, the American Methodists declared in the General Conference that slavery “was repugnant to the unalienable rights of mankind, and to the spirit of the Christian religion.” 4 years after the insurrection in 1804, restrictions were once again used for slave meetings in Virginia once again using nighttime religion meetings as a platform. The 1819 prohibition brought out the possibility of civilian power towards slaves or slave patrol groups. In order to persuade slave owners to abide by the 1819 Act, by fining ten dollars if any group of five African American slaves assembled on their lands, first being saw in Commonwealth v. Booth. After the Turner Insurrection, the surrounding citizens realized the religion was the main reason the insurrection pushed forward. Officially after the trial, state legislation declared African American free men or slaves “to preach, exhort, or conduct, or hold any assembly or meeting, for religious or other purposes, either in the day time or at night.” Sundays specifically were cracked down on the most as family meetings were more frequent on Sundays.
Haki kweli Shakur August Third Collective NAPLA NAIM 10-30-51ADM 16