Charleston commemorating bicentenary of Denmark Vesey uprising

CHARLESTON, S.C. (Lowcountry Weekend) - The city of Charleston will mark 200 years since Denmark Vesey planned an uprising to free enslaved people in the Lowcountry in a three-day event starting Thursday.

The commemoration will include discussions and performances in a partnership between the Gaillard Center, Mother Emanuel AME Church and the International African American Museum.

Vesey, a slave in the early 1800s, was one of the founders of Mother Emanuel AME Church, according to its website. He planned a slave revolt in 1822 but was executed along with five others implicated in the plot.

Here’s a look at highlights of the commemoration taking place at the Charleston Gaillard Center:

Thursday, 7:30 p.m.

“Truth be Told: Vesey,” a panel discussion moderated by Mother Emanuel AME Church historian Lee J. Bennett Jr., in conversation with stand-up comedian W. Kamau Bell, media mogul and TV personality Charlamagne tha God, President & CEO of the International African American Museum Dr. Tonya M. Matthews, Executive Director of the Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture Dr. Tamara Butler, Director of the College of Charleston’s Center for the Study of Slavery Dr. Bernard Powers, and Vice President and Artistic Director of Social Impact at the Kennedy Center, poet, and librettist BAMUTHI (Marc Bamuthi Joseph).

Friday, 8 p.m.

A ticketed concert headlined by GRAMMY Award-winning multi-platinum singer, songwriter, producer, and actor Anthony Hamilton.

Saturday, 5 p.m.

“Orchestrating Freedom,” a free concert in the Gaillard Center’s Martha & John M. Rivers Performance Hall and simulcast outdoors on the Gaillard’s lawn featuring the Charleston Symphony led by its Associate Conductor, Kellen Gray, and Lowcountry Voices led by Nathan Nelson, and narrated by South Carolina Public Radio host Osei Chandler. Outdoor activity will begin at 3:45 pm with a performance by the Charleston brass band Partly Cloudy. From 3 p.m. to 5 p.m., caregivers and children are invited to join the Denmark Vesey Education Corner to explore the story of Denmark Vesey through storytelling sessions and artmaking with watercolor quilts.

Saturday, 9 p.m.

A ticketed evening comedy event on Saturday features one of the most popular and highly recognized stand-up comedians on the road today, DL Hughley.


Tickets for the Denmark Vesey Bicentenary can be reserved for free events and purchased for ticketed events at https://gaillardcenter.org/denmark-vesey/.

Copyright 2022 WCSC. All rights reserved.

Patrick Phillips

Patrick joined the Live 5 News team in October 2006.