Published in 1936 following author Arna Bontemps’s exploration of postbellum slave narratives (now available digitally in the Library of Congress collection Born in Slavery: Slave Narratives from the Federal Writers’ Project, 1936-1938), Black Thunder: Gabriel’s Revolt, 1800 fictionalizes a Black uprising that was actually attempted in antebellum Richmond, Virginia. While, historically speaking, the thwarted rebellion failed at its objective of liberating its leader Gabriel Prosser and his compatriots from their oppressors – as well as all enslaved peoples in the American South – Bontemps nevertheless found reason to revisit the event. Rather than perceiving it as a story of abject failure,…

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Citation: LeRoy-Frazier, Jill. "Black Thunder". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 06 March 2023 [, accessed 23 March 2023.]

6285 Black Thunder 3 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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