Nat Turner is an interesting individual. His story has been on the big screen, as well as the conversation of historians for years. Even in his early life, he was regarded as a prophet and that he was destined for some great purpose. Starting as a slave born in Virginia in October of 1800, to being the leader of the bloodiest and most memorable slave rebellion of the 1800s, Nat’s impact can be felt even today. Some may view him as a hero for his rebellion against white oppression, whereas others feel as though he was a religious extremist, blaming the basis all of his actions on signs from god. In any case, he was a uniquely intelligent individual, and was extremely advantaged for his time and circumstances. Nat Turner born into slavery in the year 1800, a time only 17 years removed after the end of the revolutionary war. From a young age Nat had been able to recall events that had occurred before his birth, catching the eye of his mother, as well as others around him. Nat has said, “I surely would be a prophet, as the Lord had shewn me things that had happened before my birth. ” referencing how others felt about his almost psychic visions of past events. Even as a slave he was allowed to learn how to read and write as well as learning religion, which was not very common for his time. Neither was his intelligence. Nat was an extremely religious person. He noted being very close to his Grandmother as well as being somewhat close to his master who was also very religious.
Nat had run away from his owner’s brother, Samuel Turner, in 1821. After 30 days of hiding, he actually returned referencing a sign from god to come back, and even quotes not disliking his owners when he does return. Not soon after his return however, he also says, “And about this time I had a vision – and I saw white spirits and black spirits engaged in battle, and the sun was darkened – the thunder rolled in the Heavens, and blood flowed in streams – and I heard a voice saying, “Such is your luck, such you are called to see, and let it come rough or smooth, you must surely bear it. ” I now withdrew myself as much as my situation would permit, from the intercourse of my fellow servants, for the avowed purpose of serving the Spirit more fully – and it appeared to me, and reminded me of the things it had already shown me, and that it would then reveal to me the knowledge of the elements, the revolution of the planets, the operation of tides, and changes of the seasons. ” This is where his inspiration for the rebellions begins. He later is quoted 3 years after, referencing even more signs in which inspire the violence of his rebellions. He called this his divine inspiration, and this is the point where his revolt is developed. The revolt begins in august of 1831, and Nat begins by slaughtering his current master’s family, the Travis’. He took a solar eclipse as his final sign from god before gathering other slaves to begin this slaughter.
The small group grew from a handful of slaves to an impressive 50 revolting slaves. They proceeded to murder 55 white men, women, and children, and did not plan on stopping this growth until their group was apprehended in October of the same year. Their last fight occurred at a plantation, where at the sight of possible capture, Nat fled into the woods where he was found only days later. In an attempt to lash out on the blacks, white mobs proceeded to murder anywhere around one hundred to two hundred slaves.
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