One of the primary methods of escape for runaways was the infamous Underground Railroad, a secret network of blacks and whites that illegally helped fugitive slaves reach safety in the North or Canada.
The network, also referred to as the "Liberty Line," used railroad terms to describe its operations.
(William Styron later wrote an award-winning novel by the same title, which drew much controversy from blacks who claimed it presented a totally distorted view of Turner.) Gray made no attempt to defend Turner and called no witnesses to testify on his behalf.
As a result, Turner was hanged on November 11, 1831.
He organized a plot in which approximately 1,100 slaves were to take Richmond.
Prosser envisioned that his "army" would eventually be joined by as many as 50,000 more.
This attitude, which was common among slaveholders and those tasked with recording our nation's history, perpetuated the belief that slaves were generally passive and complacent and had no real reason or desire to rebel or to run away, a concept that more recent research has proven to be blatantly false.
history books still contend that enslaved Africans were generally resigned to their fate and that slave revolts were rare and unusual occurrences.
Governor James Monroe described it as "unquestionably the most serious and formidable conspiracy we have ever known." Several years later in South Carolina, Denmark Vesey, a slave who had purchased his freedom in 1800 with money from a winning lottery ticket, led another uprising. Thomas in the West Indies, worked as a carpenter in Charleston, South Carolina.
Over a period of seven months, he planned an uprising to "liberate" the city, encouraging slaves to seize weapons, commandeer ships, and sail for the West Indies.