Nat Turner Essay

Submitted By Mser805
Words: 1103
Pages: 5

Southampton was generally a remote neighborhood. Most Families owned a heft number of slaves, which classified them as aristocrats. Some elite men with the names of Newsom, Worrell, and Briggs owned fifty slaves or more. And some owned large plantations with 145 to 179 slaves apiece. Most of the wealthier men inherited the majority of their fortunes and had bought the rest. In comparison to mansions that characterized Virginia, Southampton was relatively modest. Over one-third of their families did not own any slaves and the ones that did could afford overseers and worked alongside their slaves. Although Virginia was no longer in a depression, the state was still suffering. The lands value had declined and a number of families had moved to new land in Georgia and Alabama. Southampton whites were considered pretty laidback toward their slaves. They often let them gather for religious purposes, visit other farms, and even travel to Jerusalem on Saturdays to visit their friends and relatives. Their slaves were treated well and they rarely had any troubles. However, everything was not as serene as the whites liked to believe. S storm was brewing in Southampton. On the morning of August 22, 1831, a group of slaves led by a man named Nat Turner emerged from the forests with guns and axes. Their rage turned into violence and resulted in the bloodiest slave revolt in Southern history. Before that morning, white men who knew Turner thought him harmless. Nat Turner was born in 1800 and was property of Benjamin Turner. Rumor has it that his mother wanted to kill him instead of watching him grow up in slavery. He was the son of two strong-minded parents. They both praised Nat and wanted him to be aware of his self-importance. His mother and father told him he had great purpose and that someday he would become a prophet. Nat learned to read and write. Most people that knew him thought he was too intelligent to be a slave. In 1810 Benjamin Turner dies and Nat became the property of his oldest son Samuel. Samuel did not pay much attention to Nat which made it easier for him to improve his knowledge. Nat would read children’s literature and experiment with gun powder. But it was religion that interested him the most. He studied the Bible and would attend Negro religious meetings where they would sing hymns about a better life. He began to preach all the time and believed he was ordained by God himself. Nat became a Baptist preacher in the black community and came to know most of Southampton County on a personal level. Sometime around 1821 Nat disappeared. He fled to his freedom but 30 days later he voluntarily retuned. He claimed that his master was Jehovah and it was he who brought him back. Soon after Nat married a young woman named Cherry. Cherry was a slave on the same farm. When Samuel Turner died, both Nat and Cherry were sold to different farms. Since Nat was a knowledgeable man of the Bible, he was well aware of the hypocrisies of the white men. Southampton claimed to take care of their slaves, and yet they broke up their families and sold them to unmerciful slave owners, Nat began to have bloody visions. He believes that spirits were showing him signs. When working in the fields he discovered drops of blood on corn and leaves with figures and numbers drawn on them. When he told other slaves of his findings, they were astounded. They believed he could control the weather and heal diseases. In 1829 a convention met in Virginia to draft a new state constitution. There was talk about slaves being liberated. However, shortly after they learned that they would not be free. Antislavery publications began to filter in from the North. David Walker’s Appeal called for a slave revolt and in result a new law was established making it illegal to teach slaves how to read or write. In February 1831, there was an eclipse of the sun and Nat finally received the sign he had been waiting for. He gathered four other slaves and they…