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Congo Jack, also called Gullah Jack, appears in history in connection with the insurrection planned by Denmark Vesey in Charleston, South Carolina, in 1822. He was the person Vesey relied on to strengthen the rebels against harm.

Vesey, like so many other African American leaders of the 19th century, came from the “upper class” of slaves: the engineers and craftspeople who were given a high degree of independence and self-actualization, as opposed to field workers or house slaves. He purchased his own freedom and settled down as a carpenter in Charleston, South Carolina.

Despite the surface placidity of his free life, he was fired with anger over slavery and the situation of black slaves. Throughout his entire free existence, he planned and thought about freeing his fellow ...

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