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Nat Turner Rebellion

During the late 18 th century and early 19 th century, many slave rebellions broke out but the one that left deep imprints on the history of America was under the leadership of Nat Turner, a slave. He was born on October 2, 1800 on a plantation in Southampton County, West Virginia. Committed to Christian faith since early ages, he started believing that he was chosen by the God to overthrow the evil of slavery. As a slave, he was transferred and sold to one master from another. He once ran away from his owner Samuel Turner and hid into the woods for a month. According to him, it was during this escape in the woods, that he received God’s message to do something great.

In his twenties, he became a spiritual leader among his fellow slaves and decided to start a rebellion. On August 22, 1831, Turner and 6 slaves began an attack and killed their owner’s family. This news ignited a rebellion across the West, which we know call Nat Turner’s Rebellion. After gathering 40-50 slaves, he strategically began moving from plantation to plantation and kill all white men, women or children associated with slavery. It is said that under his leadership, 55 white people were killed by slaves. Later on, in an attempt to capture the town of Jerusalem, they were stopped and outnumbered by a well-armed white militia called by the Governor. Turner and others fled into the woods which gave the authority an upper hand over other slaves. Eventually, Turner was captured on October 30, 1931and was executed on November 11. For his trial, he was represented by lawyer Thomas R. Gray who released the account of the rebellion in Turner’s own words.

In a bloody aftermath almost 200 slaves were executed, beheaded and hanged in public to instil the fear in the minds of other slaves. The laws were tightened to stop future rebellions. However, Nat Turner’s heroics inspired people throughout the America and gave a sense of hope to other slaves that they can fight for their own rights movement of 1960s was a result of Turner’s sacrifice.