Resistance

Nat Turner’s Rebellion

Gift of Maurice A. Person and Noah and Brooke Porter

Slave rebellions carried bloody consequences. Rebels were executed. Family, friends, and neighbors might be beaten and killed. In some cases, slave holders placed bloodied and dismembered bodies in public view to remind passersby of their awful power. Still, in the midst of terror, enslaved people rebelled.

Nat Turner believed he was called by God to deliver his people from slavery. Turner used preaching to convince people to join his revolt. On August 21, 1831, at 2:00 a.m., Turner and his followers started at his master’s house and killed the entire family. They marched throughout Southampton County in Virginia, killing at least 55 people until white authorities crushed the revolt. Turner avoided capture for nearly two months before he was caught. He was tried in the Southampton County Court and was sentenced to be hung on November 11th. Turner’s revolt shocked the white south and, in retaliation, white southerners tightened laws restricting enslaved people’s lives.