Black History Month- Nat Turner

 

-October 2, 1800- November 11, 1831

-Leader of a slave insurrection.

-Sold three times in his childhood and hired out to John Travis (1820s), he became a fiery preacher and leader of African-American slaves on Benjamin Turner’s plantation and in his Southampton County neighbourhood, claiming that he was chosen by God to lead them from bondage.

-Believing in signs and hearing divine voices, Turner was convinced by an eclipse of the Sun (1831) that the time to rise up had come, and he enlisted the help of four other slaves in the area.

-An insurrection was planned, aborted, and rescheduled for August 21, 1831, when he and six other slaves killed the Travis family, managed to secure arms and horses, and enlisted about 75 other slaves in a disorganized insurrection that resulted in the murder of 51 white people.

-Afterwards, Turner hid nearby successfully for six weeks until his discovery, conviction, and hanging at Jerusalem, Virginia, along with 16 of his followers.

-The incident put fear in the heart of Southerners, ended the organized emancipation movement in that region, resulted in even harsher laws against slaves, and deepened the schism between slave-holders and free-soilers (an anti-slavery political party whose slogan was ‘free soil, free speech, free labor, and free men’) that would culminate in the Civil War.

-Turner often conducted Baptist services, preaching the Bible to his fellow slaves, who dubbed him “The Prophet”

-Turner also had influence over white people, and in the case of Ethelred T. Brantley, Turner said that he was able to convince Brantley to “cease from his wickedness”

-By early 1828, Turner was convinced that he “was ordained for some great purpose in the hands of the Almighty.”

-List as one of the 100 Greatest African Americans.

 

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