Nat Turner was born into slavery on October 2nd 1800, in Southampton County Virginia. As a young child he was seen as very bright and intelligent and was able to read by age four, something unusual for slaves let alone his age. Like most slaves, he had little freedom, was forced to work long grueling hours and faced punishment constantly for the minutest issue. In his twenties, Turner was a spiritual leader among his fellow slaves, and many people, including his mother and grandmother, believed that he had been chosen by God to do great things. Turner began to have a series of visions from God and spirits telling him to prepare for an uprising and that he enact judgment upon those who oppressed him and fellow slaves. In February 1831, a solar eclipse seemed to Turner to be the sign he was waiting for, and he began preparations for an insurrection. He met with fellow slave...
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... forward. To say that Nat Turner’s decisions set in motion this extraordinary series of events is not entirely correct—it is not difficult to imagine the Civil War happening even without Turner’s rebellion having ever taken place, after all—but certainly the insurrection itself and its aftermath helped sharpen the lines that separated those who supported slavery from those who opposed it.
Danver, Steven L. Revolts, Protests, Demonstrations, and Rebellions in American History: An Encyclopedia. Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO, 2011.
Irons, Charles. Origins of Proslavery Christianity: White and Black Evangelicals in Colonial and Antebellum Virginia. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2008.
Wood, Maren L. and Walbert, David. Nat Turner’s Rebellion. http://www.learnnc.org/lp/editions/nchist-newnation/4574 (accessed January 10, 2013).
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