Nat Turner’s Slave Rebellion
“Nat Turner’s Southampton Slave Revolt and How it Paved the Way for the Abolitionist and Civil Rights Movement ” Nat Turner was a man with a vision that would change America forever.
His vision may have not sounded right to the average person button Nat Turner, he was on Earth to realize his vision. Nat Turner is the most famous and most controversial slave rebel in American history, and he remains a storm center of dispute(“Fires of Jubilee” author Stephen B. Dates). Nat Turner’s slave revolt may have not been the greatest way to solve the problem of slavery, but it did open many people’s eyes.Slavery was an accepted practice in society but it was not a humane or kind thing. The cruel and unjust treatment by the slave masters in the sass’s led to Nat Turner’s slave revolt, which in turn led to the abolitionist movement. Nat Turner was born on October 2, 1800 in the small town objectifies in Southampton, Virginia.
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Gnat’s mother Nancy was one of 400,000 native Africans brought to North America before 1808. While most of the Africans had come from West Africa, Nanny’s was supposedly from in the North’s Nile River of Jubilee”). Folk chroniclers say that slave traders or warlike natives abducted Nancy when she was a teenager.She was thrust over to European slave traders and crammed on a disease infested slave boat headed to the New of Jubilee”). Nanny’s ship landed at Norfolk, Virginia around 1795. She then was herded more inland where slave traders exhibited her at several slave auctions. Around 1 799 Nancy was brought by Benjamin Turner and her life on a plantation began.
Not long after Nancy had arrived at the plantation, she married another slave whose name is of Jubilee”). Their union produced Nathaniel “Nat” Turner. In Hebrew this name meant “the gift of God. ” Nancy did not want to bring her young son up as a slave so she tried to kill him.The slave owners punished Nancy for raying this and shackled her for a lengthy period. As Nancy watched Nat get a little older, she noticed that she had a special child. She was extremely proud of her young son Nat.
Nat was bright, and quick to learn and he stood out from the rest of the children. In one instance, Nancy overheard a conversation Nat was having with some of his playmates. He was telling them of a story that had taken place long before he had been born, yet he told the story like he was there. Nancy asked young Nat ‘Did anyone tell you this story? ” He replied “No, somehow just know. Nancy beckoned other slaves to come hear this story, and to e if Nat were telling it correctly. By and by these other slaves were astonished because he told the story again and explained it just the way it of Jubilee”). Nat later recalled the incident and said that Only the almighty could have given him such powers Of recollection(“Fires of Jib lee”).
Gnat’s Mother and Father realizing that they had someone special, praised Nat for his extraordinary brilliance and great imagination. They believed so much that Nat was going to be something special that, they showed other slaves scars and bumps that were on Gnat’s chest.In African tradition it is said that a male with the markings, like Gnat’s, was Sistine to become a leader(“Fires of Jubilee”). Gnat’s parents, his grandmother, and other slaves were all in agreement that “he was intended for some great purpose, and would surely become a prophet. “(” Fires of Jubilee”) Another astonishing thing about Nat Turner was his ability to read. Never in his life had he been taught or educated by someone, yet he knew how. One day while Nat was crying and carrying on, another slave gave him a book to “play with.
Instead Nat sat and proceeded to list the words in the book and read the book(‘Fires of slave masters were astonished because none of the slaves could read or write, yet Nat knew how. The master did not overlook Gnat’s literacy and superior intelligence, yet he only encouraged Nat to read the bible because of his strong religious beliefs. Reading the bible is where Nat received many of his callings to start his massive slave As Nat grew a little older, his life began to change in a succession of unsuspected shocks. First, his father ran away to the North, leaving Nat and Nancy still in slavery.After escaping he was never heard from again, but Nat never forgot him(“Fires fusible”). Around 1810 Gnat’s master Benjamin, died of a typhoid epidemic that was sweeping through the small Virginia neighborhood. In Master Benjamin will, he divided his land and his slaves among his children.
Nat and his mother now became property of Samuel Turner. Master Samuel was a cruel slave owner compared to his. Like his father he was religious but he scared Christian religion into his slaves. He told them that God had brought them to the new world to serve the white man, and that they were to be obedient to the whites.He said if the slaves tried ever to revolt or try’ to escape they would burn in hell with Satan forever. Nat lived under these ridiculous beliefs while on the plantation yet his belief in the lord and the bible never favored. Another new experience was presented to Nat when he turned twelve, he started to work difficult and laborious chores like the older male slaves.
He could no longer play games with white children, no more fishing and cavorting. The same white children he and the other young slave children played with began ordering them around, and now Nat began to do grueling slave work.Young Nat continued to persevere and he worked through these rough times. He woke up before the sunlight, to an unhealthy breakfast Of corn mush, milked the cows, fed the hogs and tended to the fields. Slavery was hard and because of the brilliance Nat splayed as a boy he thought he would never be doing this, but he was. When not ending to the fields or feeding animals Nat helped repair fences, and since Nat was a strong man he did much of the heavy lifting. Although the slave life was bad, the slaves did there best to survive and try and keep their mind off their hardships.
It was when the slaves could get away from the crack of the Master’s whip and far away from the master’s yelling. At night some slaves would gather around a fire with their children and tell stories of freedom and sing songs. They would also speak about things they had eared on the slave grapevines about slaves in other parts of the south planning revolts. At these gatherings at night, Nat would shine. He would speak brilliantly to all of the slaves and he always talked about the day that slaves would rise and claim their freedom. Nat would participate in anything involving public speaking, and especially speaking to slaves about religion.Nat would sneak books and read them, and from some of these books he learned how to make gunpowder.
Religion was still his greatest interest though. He was an acknowledged leader among the slaves and whenever giving a religious sermon he would always say things with suasion and used great body language. These actions of Gnat’s produced people in the audience to yell out “Amen,” “Hallelujah” and “Tell to them preacher! ” In 1821, master Samuel hired an overseer. Clearly, the overseer beat Nat because he ran away. He became a fugitive and dwelled deep into the swamps of Southampton.For thirty days Nat was gone and for sure the “slave patrol” was put on the task of searching for him. All the slaves prayed for his safe return, and finally one night he did return, but he returned on his own.
There was no patrol, no hound dogs, nothing with Nat. He just decided to come back cause as he put it, “the lord hath found something more for me to of Jubilee”). Nat married another slave named Cherry and they lived on Master Samuels farm. In 1822 though, Master Samuel died of an unknown affliction at age 31. The overseer having left and Master Samuels wife inability to run the farm caused it to sink into despair.Eventually the slaves Were sold including Nat and his wife Cherry. They sold Nat to a man named Thomas Moore and sold Cherry to another slave master.
Nat was determined that the rest of his life would be spent “behind a sighting mule in Moor’s cotton patches. “(“Fires of Jubilee”). Nat said to many slaves that he was just waiting for a sign that was coming for the lord to tell him what to do. On a February day in 1831 the sign Nat had been waiting for appeared. A solar eclipse appeared this day and Nat told his four closest comrades: Hark, Nelson, Henry, and Sam.He told him that they were to stir all of the other Negroes on the plantation because the revolt was going to happen on July 4. The same day as the country would celebrate its freedom Nat said, Negroes will celebrate theirs.
This day proved not to work out well because on July 4, 1831, Nat got very sick and the revolt was called off. This caused Nat to wait for another sign, and the sign that would signal Nat came. Saturday, August 13, 1831 the sky was supposedly a “greenish blue Turner’s Slave Rebellion by Herbert Patchier), and this caused Nat to again to tell his four men to spread the word.All that were to be involved in the revolt, would wear red bandannas around their necks to signify cooperation. On the afternoon of Sunday, August 21, the conspirators gathered and Nat decided that was the day the rebellion would begin. The last thing Nat Turner said to his followers was this”: Remember that ours is not a war for robbery nor to attics our passions; it is a struggle for freedom. Ours must be deeds not words.
Then let us away to the scene of Turner’s Slave Rebellion”). It IS plain to see what Nat Turner’s desires are about this revolt but some of his followers had different desires.Some wanted to get back at mean masters and others were doing it just for money. This is one of the reason’s why the rebellion was crushed. Not all the slaves were following the rebellion for personal gain though, most of them were doing it to get their freedom just like Nat was trying to do. The number of conspirators is a number that has been in question for sometime. Some estimate that there was between sixty and eighty slaves and some say the number was between three- hundred and eight-hundred slaves.
The latter number is probably the least accurate.The rebellion probably had from about eighty to one hundred conspirators. Accuracy of what happened exactly with all the killings is also in debate. There are many accounts on what went on but most of them are the way the reader reads and interprets what happened. Nat Turner is quoted as saying “indiscriminate massacre was not their intention after they obtained a foothold, and was resorted to in the first instance to strike terror and alarm. Women and children would have afterwards been spared, and men too, who ceased to resist. “(“Nat Turner’s Slave Rebellion”).
Mostly what Nat and the group did was go from house to house and killed all white people in the house, this included women and children. Nat and the conspirators killed and burned some plantations down for about seven days. On August 28, 1831, most of the conspirators had been jailed or killed except Nat Turner and five or six other slaves. The state militia had put down the revolution. The biggest reason that the revolt was put down so fast was because of insubordination from some slaves toward Nat. Other reasons for the put down were, there were only about eighty slaves and there were at least more than five hundred militia men.Also the slaves were tired and did not have enough ammunition to compete with the militia.
The revolution was crushed but not before Nat Turner had struck some fear and got people to listen up that slavery should be abolished. About 55 whites were killed in all, most of them were women and children. Nat was able to out run the law for about three months until he was captured sometime on October 30, 1831. There were many rumors about where Nat was. Some people heard he had run way to Maryland, or escaped to the West Indies.What Nat really did was hide in a cave in Southampton, Virginia, and was caught by a man named Benjamin Phipps while Nat was looking for food. Nat was brought to trial after his escape and on November 5, the Honorable Jeremiah Cob sentenced Nat Turner to death by hanging.
This sentence was carried out on November 11, 1831 and showing complete calmness and apparently unafraid, Nat was hung for the crime of murder, thus ending Nat Turner’s life and his slave revolt. Nat Turner’s slave revolt led to many other things significant in the abolishment of slavery.