American slave revolt leader
Madison Washington was an enslaved cook who escaped from slavery not once, but twice. He led the Creole slave revolt in which 18 black slaves overtook the slave ship, the Creole in November 1841. The uprising resulted in freedom for 128 slaves. The exact date of Washington’s birth is not documented. Nevertheless, it is known that he was born in Virginia. Eventually, Washington escaped slavery and headed to Canada to keep his freedom intact. Nonetheless, Washington couldn’t enjoy his freedom because his wife, Susan was still being held captive in Virginia. His original plan for them both escaping failed. Yet Washington was determined to be reunited with his wife, even if it meant the loss of his freedom. Washington left Canada with the money he earned, saws and other inconspicuous weapons hidden in the lining of his coat to help him free himself should he need to. He was eventually taken and put aboard The Creole, a slave ship bound for New Orleans. Nine days into the trip, some of the slaves were sick and not properly monitored which gave Washington and his men the footing to overtake the ship. According to accounts, after killing the slave traders and wounding the captain, the slaves gathered up all weapons on the ship and other documents related to their enslavement and took charge of the ship. The slaves initially demanded to be sailed towards Nassau, the Bahamas as it was the only place they knew former slaves could get their freedom. When they landed in the Bahamas, they were considered free as slavery was illegal in the British colonies. Madison and the others who had been involved in overtaking the ship and killing a slave trader were, however, detained and charged with mutiny. On April 16, 1842, the Admiralty Court in Nassau ordered the mutineers, including Washington to be released and freed. Washington has since been described as a hero, especially by abolitionists for championing a revolt that enabled as much as 128 enslaved people to gain their freedom.