Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, Volume 1, Number 10, September, 1991 Page: 317
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The Slave Revolt, Revisited
by Bill Stein
A. R. Desmond of Garland, Texas has advanced
a rather radical opinion regarding the Colorado County slave
revolt. Though it has been treated in this magazine (vol. 1,
no. 5) and in several other sources as genuine, Mr. Des-
mond, after a thorough study of the it and of other similar
incidents in Texas and elsewhere in the south, has come to
the conclusion that there really was no planned slave
rebellion here, but that the executions and other punish-
ments that were handed down were simply the product of
the prevailing paranoia of slave holders. Mr. Desmond noted
several similarities between the trumped up charges else-
where and those in Colorado County. He also pointed to
several curious "facts," such as the elaborate communica-
tion system devised by these generally ignorant and servile
men and the sinister motto, "Leave not a shadow behind,"
supposedly adopted by the rebels. According to Mr. Des-
mond, secret passwords and vows of death were the
province of the Know Nothing Party and the Knights of the
Golden Circle, and of the future Ku Klux Klan, but quite
beyond the ken of slaves.
A further review of the evidence provides strong
support for Mr. Desmond's position. Norma Shaw, on pages
38-39 of her thesis, "The Early History of Colorado County
Organized as a Model for Teaching a Local History Unit"
(Master's thesis, Southwest Texas State Teachers College,
1939), tells of a slave owner inflicting tortures to induce his
slaves to confess to the conspiracy:
An ex-slave, Richmond Norman, relates that a slave
owner, who lived about one mile north of Columbus, tried
to get his slaves to tell him of the plans that were made to
kill the white men. This they would not do; so the master
placed his slaves in the cotton press, flat on their backs and
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Nesbitt Memorial Library. Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, Volume 1, Number 10, September, 1991, periodical, September 1991; Columbus, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth151383/m1/13/?q=nesbitt%20memorial%20library%20journal: accessed December 11, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Nesbitt Memorial Library.