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11 November
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Nat Turner Executed

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Nat Turner woodcut

Nat Turner woodcut

Nathaniel “Nat” Turner was was an African American slave who led a slave rebellion in Virginia. Turner was hanged on November 11 in Jerusalem, Virginia. His body was flayed, beheaded and quartered.  Turner was born on October 2, 1800, in Southampton County, Virginia.

“While still a young child, Nat was overheard describing events that had happened before he was born. This, along with his keen intelligence, and other signs marked him in the eyes of his people as a prophet “intended for some great purpose.” A deeply religious man, he “therefore studiously avoided mixing in society, and wrapped [him]self in mystery, devoting [his] time to fasting and praying.” -PBS

In 1821, Turner escaped. He returned after 30 days, because he had a vision telling him to. In 1822 his overseer died and he was sold to Thomas Moore. In 1828 he had yet another vision:

“I heard a loud noise in the heavens, and 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, for the time was fast approaching when the first should be last and the last should be first… And by signs in the heavens that it would make known to me when I should commence the great work, and until the first sign appeared I should conceal it from the knowledge of men; and on the appearance of the sign… I should arise and prepare myself and slay my enemies with their own weapons.” – PBS

In February of 1831 there was an eclipse of the sun. Turner took this to mean that his planned revolt was divinely approved. He decided on July 4th for his rebellion, however he became ill and the rebellion was delayed until on August 13 the sun appeared bluish-green, another divine sign. They decided on August 21 as the rebellion date.

Turner and his group of over 40 slaves killed 55 whites that day, moving forum house to house killing all inside each. Turner was forced to confess. On November 5, he was sentenced to death. He was killed on November 11, 1831.

Sources

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The Confessions of Nat Turner

The Confessions of Nat Turner

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The Confessions of Nat Turner The Leader of the Late Insurrections in Southampton, Va. As Fully and Voluntarily Made to Thomas R. Gray, in the Prison Where … Authentic Account of the Whole Insurrection.

 

The Confessions of Nat Turner

The Confessions of Nat Turner

The Confessions of Nat Turner

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25 June
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