I heard about Daniel Rasmussen’s book American Uprising, The Untold Story of America’s Largest Slave Revolt listening to NPR a couple of years ago. What a story! I did some more research and was still spellbound by the events of 1811.
In particular, I’m fascinated with Charles Deslondes, credited with being the prime conspirator. He was a mixed-blood slave driver, which meant he functioned much the same as an overseer on the cane plantation about forty miles north of New Orleans. His master, Manuel Andry, trusted him and gave him extra responsibility and extra privileges – because Deslondes had convinced his master and all the other slaves that he was the white man’s creature.
To have convincingly worn the mask of loyal slave while plotting to overthrow the white man’s rule took extraordinary grit and determination. The only people who knew what was coming were the few other slaves in on the plot. Necessarily the leaders organized the rebels into small cells so that no one knew more than a very few others who were involved.
Two other leaders in particular interest me. Quamana and Kook were Asante warriors from Ghana. They were captured in battle, enslaved, and shipped to Louisiana. But these were not ordinary slaves. They were young, but they were experienced, hardened soldiers who knew tactics and weapons and how to lead men.
I’ve stuck to the facts as I’ve discovered and understood them – mostly – in writing a fictionalized account of this slave rebellion. I do recommend Rasmussen’s book to readers who like their history straight, but I love fiction and readers who prefer to invest in characters and motivations as well as in events may find my new book, The Lion’s Teeth, as exciting as it was for me to write.
The Lion’s Teeth is available on Amazon in both print and digital formats.