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Sun, 08.21.1831

Nat Turner leads slave rebellion

Illustration of revolt

On this date in 1831, Nat Turner and 70 slaves began a two-day uprising in Southampton County, Virginia.

Turner, a slave preacher, believed that God had chosen him to lead Blacks to freedom. During the rebellion, Turner’s master was killed, along with about 60 other whites. As troops moved in to capture the slaves, Turner escaped and remained at large for two months. While he was a fugitive, it is estimated that around 53 blacks were arrested and tried, 20 were hanged, 21 acquitted, and 12 transported out of Virginia.

The revolt had repercussions throughout the South. It became clear to the whites that many slaves were willing to die for freedom. More rigid slave codes and laws were adopted as a result.

The wood cut at the right (from an 1831 sketch by Samuel Warner), is entitled “Horrid Massacre in Virginia.” Turner was captured and executed on November 11, 1831 that year.

The African American Atlas
Black History & Culture an Illustrated Reference
by Molefi K. Asanta and Mark T. Mattson
Macmillam USA, Simon & Schuster, New York
ISBN 0-02-864984-2

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