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Nat Turner (drawing)
On this date in 1800, Nat Turner, a Black slave, abolitionist, and the leader of a Black slave revolt, was born.
He was born on a plantation in Southampton County, Virginia. Turner was an influential religious leader among his slave community and became convinced that he had been chosen by God to lead his people to freedom.
On August 21, 1831, he and five other slaves killed their master and his family and, joined by about 60 Blacks from neighboring plantations, started a general revolt. By August 24, white militiamen and volunteers brought the rebellion under control, but Turner was not captured for another six weeks.
More than 50 whites were slain during the uprising, and an unknown number of Blacks were lynched in reprisal by white mobs. After they were tried and convicted, Turner and 15 of his companions were hanged in Jerusalem, VA.
As a result of Nat Turner's revolt, Southern legislatures imposed stricter control on slaves, and the movement to abolish slavery, which had previously enjoyed some support in the South, became a northern phenomenon.
Black Saga: The African American Experience A Chronology
by Charles M. Christian
Copyright 1995, Civitas/Counterpoint
The biographical dictionary of Black Americans
by Rachel Krantz and Elizabeth A.Ryan
Copyright 1992, Facts on File, New York, NY