Nat Turner, born into captivity on October 2, 1800, on a Southampton County plantation, became a preacher who claimed he was selected by God to direct slaves from bondage. On August 21, 1831, he directed a brutal insurrection. He concealed for six weeks but was finally captured and afterwards hanged. The event stopped the emancipation movement because area and led to even more rigorous laws against slaves. He was born to the Virginia plantation of Benjamin Turner, who permitted him to be instructed in reading, writing, and faith. His mom was named Nancy, but nothing is known about his dad.
As a little kid, Turner was believed to possess some unique gift because he could describe things that occurred before he was even born. Some even noted that he “certainly could be a prophet,” according to his later confession. His mom and grandma told Turner that he “was intended for some great function.” Turner was profoundly spiritual and spent much of his time reading the Bible, praying and fasting. Over time, Turner worked on several distinct plantations. Considering in signals and hearing divine voices, Turner had a vision in 1825 of a bloody clash between monochrome spirits. 3 years after, he had what he considered to be another message from God.
Turner took a solar eclipse that happened in February 1831 as a sign the time to rise up had come. On August 21, 1831, Turner and his assistants started their revolt against white slave owners using the killing the Travis family. They could procure arms and horses from those they killed. Most sources say that about 55 white men, women and kids perished during Turner’s rebellion. Initially Turner had intended to get to the county seat of Jerusalem and take on the armory there, however he and his guys were foiled in this strategy. They faced off against several armed white men in a plantation near Jerusalem, as well as the battle soon broken up into madness.
While Turner concealed away, white mobs took their vengeance on the blacks of Southampton County. Estimates vary from about 100 to 200 African Americans were killed following the rebellion. Turner was finally caught on October 30, 1831. He was represented by attorney Thomas R. Gray, who wrote down Turner’s confession. He was sentenced to death by hanging, which sentence was completed on November 11, 1831. A lot of his coconspirators met the exact same fate as Turner. The event put fear in the center of southerners, stopping the organized emancipation movement because area. Southern states enacted even more rigorous laws against slaves instead. Turner’s activities also added fuel to the abolitionist movement in the north. Famous abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison even printed an editorial in his paper The Liberator in support of Turner to some level.
Turner’s persona has changed and evolved through the years. He’s appeared as a hero, a religious fanatic as well as a villain. Turner became a vital icon to the 1960s black power movement as a good example of an African American standing up against white oppression. He was likewise the matter of William Styron’s 1967 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel Confessions of Nat Turner. But others have objected to Turner’s indiscriminate slaughtering of men, women and kids to try and accomplish that end. As historian Scot French told The New York Times, “To take Nat Turner and put him within the pantheon of American revolutionary heroes would be to sanction violence as a way of societal change. He’s got a sort of extreme consciousness that to this day troubles supporters of a racially reconciled society. The narrative lives as it is important today to issues of the best way to arrange for change.”