The Fires Of Jubilee: Nat Turner's Fierce Rebellion by Stephen B. Oates

1956 Words8 Pages
Nat Turner is the most famous and most controversial slave rebel on American history. He was living in the innocent season of his life, in those carefree years before the working age of twelve when a slave boy could romp and run about the plantation with uninhibited glee. Nat in his young years cavorted about the home place as slave children did generally in Virginia. He was first lived in Turner's house, who owned a modest plantationin a remote neighborhood "down county" from Jerusalem. His daytime supervisor was his grandmother, Old Bridget- who regaled the boy with slave tales and stories from the Bible. Nat had become very attached to his grandmother. The Turners had become Methodists, who held prayer services on their farm and took the blacks to Sunday chapel. Among such slaves were Nat's grandmother and his mother, Nancy, a large, spirited, olive-skinned young American, imported to North America before 1808, to toil as bondsman on farms and plantations there. By the time Nat was four or five years old, Nancy was extremely proud of him. Bright-eyed and quick to learn, he stood out among the other children. He never touched liquor, never swore, never played practical jokes and never cared a thing for white people's money. Being a Methodist, the old Master not only approved of Nat's literacy but encouraged him to study the Bible. The preachers and everybody else in the boy's world – all remarked that he had too much sense to be raised in bondage, that he " would never be of any service to anyone as a slave. The seasons of Nat's life changed in a succession of unexpected shocks. The first shock came when his father ran away from the Turner place and escaped to the North. Another jolt came in 1809, when he was 9 years old, he le... ... middle of paper ... ..., with its repressive slave controls, police measures, and toughened military forces, the Old South had devised a slave system oppressive enough to make organized rebellion all but impossible. Even so , Southern whites in the antebellum period never forgot nat Turner and the violence he unleashed in southeastern Virginia. For antebellum blacks- and for their descendants- the name of Nat Turner took on a profoundly different connotation. He became a legendary black hero- especially in southeastern Virginia, where blacks enshrined his name in an oral tradition that still flourishes today. They regard Nat's rebellion as the "First War" against slavery and the Civil War as the second. So in death Nat achieved a kind of victory denied him in life- he became a martyred soldier of slave liberation who broke his chains and murdered whites because slavery had murdered Negroes.

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