Nat Turner

Nat Turner

(2nd of October 1800- 11th of November 1831)

  • He was born a slave in Southampton County, Virginia on a plantation as the property of Benjamin Turner. He was a very intelligent young man so he learnt how to read and write at a very young age. He was deeply religious and spent a lot of time fasting & praying as well as reading the bible.
  • He was said to often recieve visions from God and he conducted baptist services preaching to the slaves who called him “The Prophet”. At 21 he ran away from his slave master and returned a month later claiming the spirit appeared to him and asked him to go back to the plantation because he was focusing on the things of the world.

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  • He believed he was ordained for a great purpose by God. He had a vision on the 12th of May, 1828 and that led him to believe that God wanted him to slay his enemies (the white slave masters) with their weapons.
  • He met secretly for months with his co-plotters planning for the revolution after a solar eclipse in February 1831. On the 13th of August 1831 the sun had a strange appearance and Nat Turner decided this was a sign to proceed with the revolution.
  • The rebels (70 free black men) were said to have killed over 60 men, women and children. The rebels went from one plantation to another, killing the enslavers and free slaves.
  • The rebellion was surpressed by the white militia within 2 days. Turner hid in the woods until the 30th of October when he was captured. He was hanged on the 11th of November for “conspiring to rebel and making insurrection”. His body was burned and beheaded to set an example for the other slaves who would dare to rebel. He also did not recieve a proper burial.
  • After the rebellion the white militia killed up to 120 slaves, most of whom had nothing to do with the rebellion. This was said to be an act of fear and an overaction on their part. The Nat Turner revolt was said to mark turning point in the black liberation struggle.
  • The Nat Turner biopic called Birth of a Nation was released in 2016. It was produced by Nate Parker who also played the role of Nat Turner.

Click here to get birth of a nation DVD

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