Nat Turner was born into slavery, in South Hampton County, on October 2nd, 1800. He was a preacher that believed he was sent to lead people out of slavery. On August 21st, 1831, he led one of the most violent slave rebellions in American history. After six weeks in hiding, he was caught and hung for the atrocities carried out under his direction. The purpose of his rebellion was to help end slavery, but the results the slaves faced were the complete opposite.
He was born on the Virginia plantation of Benjamin Turner. On his plantation he was allowed to be taught how to read, write, and learned about religion. Turner claimed that as a child he was able to describe things that happened before he was born, resulting in people claiming that “he surely would be a prophet” (Gray). Turner worked on many different plantations before his rebellion. In 1821, he ran away from Samuel Turner’s plantation, only to return thirty days later after he received a sign from god that he would need to retaliate against his owners (Oates). After Samuel Turner’s death, Nat was sent to live with Thomas Moore. Soon after, Moore died, so Turner was left with his widow, who later married John Travis. After his widowed owner married Travis, she moved Nat to work on Travis’s plantation, where Turner would soon plan his rebellion.
Turner truly believed that he was a prophet of God. In 1825, Turner had a premonition from God of a forthcoming bloody conflict between black and white spirits (The Legacy of Nat Turner 1801-1831). Three years later, he received what he believed to be another message from God. Turner claimed, "The Spirit instantly appeared to me and said the Serpent was loosened, and Christ had laid down the yoke, he had borne for the sins of men, and that I should take it on and fight against the Serpent. (Gray)" In February of 1831, on the night of a solar eclipse, Turner received what he believed to be a signal to act against the Serpent saying that, "He should arise and prepare himself and slay his enemies with their own weapons (Gray)." He recruited several other slaves to join him in his cause. On August 21, 1831, Turner and his supporters began their revolt against white slave owners beginning with the killing of his owners, the Travis family (Aptheker). Turner gathered more supporters, growing to a group of up to 60 to 80 slaves, as he and his men continued their murderous killing spree throughout the county side. As slaves, they were unable to recruit weapons, so they secured the arms of those they killed. In total there were about 55 white men, women and children killed during Turner's rebellion (The Legacy of Nat Turner 1801-1831).
On August 21st, 1831, Nat Turner led a group of men from farm house to farm house with the purpose to kill every white person they encountered. This triggered a massive mobilization of local militia in Virginia and North Carolina. Up to 3,000 militia men were called to action upon the sixty to eighty black rebels (The...