Gabriel Prosser was a black man born into slavery on a plantation in July 12th, 1776 in Henrico County, Virginia. He specialized as a blacksmith, usually spending his time making tools and other equipment used for farming. Unlike most other slaves back then, Gabriel Prosser was a literate man and was capable of reading and writing at a basic level since he was educated at a young age while training for his profession as a blacksmith. This also helped him have more access (compared to other slaves) to freedom. His two brothers Solomon and Martin and his wife, Nanny lived with him on the plantation. (Fortunately he wasn’t separated from family so much). Gabriel Prosser was motivated to rebel for freedom after hearing about the Haitian Revolt.
In late August 1800, a 25 year-old, 6 foot 2 black slave started a revolt in Richmond, the Southern region of Virginia. With the help of fellow slaves such as Jack Bowler, George Smith and a few others, Gabriel Prosser starting planning a rebellion. Their scheme was to go around from area to area around Richmond and kill all the whites except Quakers, Methodists, Frenchmen and the poor. Meanwhile, they would gather more black slaves to participate along the way. Prosser excluded these whites (Quakers, Methodists, Frenchmen and the poor) because he believed that they were people who could help him on the way to to liberty. After slaying all the whites, Prosser and other slaves hoped to establish a new kingdom (with Gabriel Prosser as king) where slavery would be abolished. The attack was supposed to be carried out on the night of August 30th, but on that day, a few slaves that didn’t want their masters killed revealed the plan to the whites. After hearing this, the people in the rebellion were disbanded and tried to run away. The whites prepared a militia to catch all the slaves and stop the rebellion in advance. Many blacks that contributed to the planning of this revolt were caught and executed, including Gabriel Prosser. The slave codes were also made stricter to prevent these happenings in advance. Although this insurrection was not entirely successful, this was a very notable one in American history because it was one of the first ones ever, and because it showed some possibility that the slaves could fight back.