Black History: Special Delivery!!


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In 1841, Madison Washington, an enslaved African American started a slave revolt aboard the ship, “Creole”. The vessel was taking 130 enslaved people from Virginia who were to be sold in New Orleans.  Madison Washington had escaped to freedom in Canada, but returned to try and free his wife.  He was captured and returned to slavery in Virginia. Washington and the enslaved men and women traveling aboard the “Creole” endured deplorable conditions and abuse. Led by Washington, 12 other enslaved people onboard the “Creole”, launched a revolt.  One of the slave traders was killed and crew members were also wounded.  Washington and the other slaves were able to take control of the ship and demanded that it be sailed to Nassau, Bahamas. At the time, Nassau was under British control and slavery had been abolished in Britain since 1839.  When the ship arrived in Nassau, the British declared that the enslaved persons onboard were free under British law.  The British refused to return any of the enslaved that were on the ship to the U.S., despite U.S. demands to do so.  Madison Washington and those that launched the rebellion were taken into custody due to the death of the slave trader.  Everyone else was allowed to go free.  Washington and the others had their day in court and the British court ruled in their favor and they were set free in 1842.   Surprisingly, 5 enslaved people remained on the ship and chose to return to the U.S. and remain enslaved.  A total of 128 enslaved people were freed in this revolt making it the most successful slave revolt in U.S. history.