The rebels went from plantation to plantation, gathering horses and guns, freeing other slaves along the way, and recruiting other blacks who wanted to join their revolt. During the rebellion, Virginia legislators targeted free blacks with a colonization bill, which allocated new funding to remove them, and a police bill that denied nat turner kyle baker pdf blacks trials by jury and made any free blacks convicted of a crime subject to sale and relocation.
The slaves killed approximately sixty white men, women and children. Whites organized militias and called out regular troops to suppress the uprising. In the aftermath, the state tried those accused of being part of Turner’s slave rebellion, 18 were executed, 14 were transported out of state and 32 were acquitted. Turner hid successfully for two months. When found, he was tried, convicted, sentenced to death, and hanged. Across Virginia and other southern states, state legislators passed new laws to control slaves and free blacks.
African-American boy was recorded as “Nat” by Benjamin Turner, the man who held his mother and him as slaves. When Benjamin Turner died in 1810, Nat became the property of Benjamin’s son Samuel Turner. For most of his life he was known as “Nat”, but after the 1831 rebellion, he was widely referred to as “Nat Turner”. Turner knew little about the background of his father, who was believed to have escaped from slavery when Turner was a young boy. He was identified as having “natural intelligence and quickness of apprehension, surpassed by few. He learned to read and write at a young age.
Deeply religious, Nat was often seen fasting, praying, or immersed in reading the stories of the Bible. Turner garnered white followers such as Etheldred T. Brantley, whom Turner was credited with having convinced to “cease from his wickedness”. In early 1828, Turner was convinced that he “was ordained for some great purpose in the hands of the Almighty. 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, for the time was fast approaching when the first should be last and the last should be first. Joseph Dreis wrote “In connecting this vision to the motivation for his rebellion, Turner makes it clear that he sees himself as participating in the confrontation between God’s Kingdom and the anti-Kingdom that characterized his social-historical context. He was convinced that God had given him the task of “slay my enemies with their own weapons.
Henry, Hark, Nelson, and Sam. Beginning in February 1831, Turner claimed certain atmospheric conditions as a sign to begin preparations for a rebellion against slaveowners. Turner envisioned this as a black man’s hand reaching over the sun. Turner postponed it because of illness and to use the delay for additional planning with his co-conspirators. Turner interpreted this as the final signal, and about a week later, on August 21, he began the uprising. Turner started with a few trusted fellow slaves. All his initial recruits were other slaves from his neighborhood”.
The neighborhood men had to find ways to communicate their intentions without giving up their plot. Songs may have tipped the neighborhood members on movements. It is believed that one of the ways Turner summoned fellow conspirators to the woods was through the use of particular songs. The rebels traveled from house to house, freeing slaves and killing the white people they found. Because the rebels did not want to alert anyone to their presence as they carried out their attacks, they initially used knives, hatchets, axes, and blunt instruments instead of firearms. The rebellion did not discriminate by age or sex, and members killed white men, women, and children.
Nat Turner confessed to killing only one person, Margaret Whitehead, whom he killed with a blow from a fence post. Before a white militia could organize and respond, the rebels killed 60 men, women, and children. Turner also thought that revolutionary violence would serve to awaken the attitudes of whites to the reality of the inherent brutality in slave-holding. Turner later said that he wanted to spread “terror and alarm” among whites.