Racism and the Transformation of the Stono Narrative
This chapter examines the intertextual challenge to universal human rights posed by writers of the Charleston School and the competing “plantation traditions” of Angelina Grimké, Edmund Quincy, Henry Timrod, and William Gilmore Simms. It discusses racism in the context of the narrative of the Stono Rebellion that broke out on September 9, 1739 when a group of Kongolese slaves-turned-rebels hoping to gain liberty stormed a storehouse near Charles Town in the Spanish colony of South Carolina and went on to kill about twenty-three white colonists before being subdued by the militia. The chapter analyzes how writers such as Timrod and William J. Grayson praised the virtues of slavery in their poetry and discusses the idea that slavery engendered a more peaceful and civilized society.
Keywords: human rights, Charleston School, plantation traditions, Henry Timrod, William Gilmore Simms, racism, Stono Rebellion, slaves, South Carolina, slavery