Meeting with other slaves in secrecy
at night and planning their uprising over many
months, Nat Turner and his fellow slaves moved through
Virginia, killing white slave holders - men, women
and children alike - liberating their slaves until
they were said to be over seventy free men and
slaves in the throng.
In order to avoid drawing the neighbourhood's
attention to themselves, Nat Turner and his men
early in the rebellion, but knives, axes and
other objects they obtained at their victims'
Rumours of Nat Turner's rebellion spread
like wildfire through Virginia and other states; the militia and mobs of white people retaliated by storming houses, stealing and
killing approximately 100-200 slaves and free men, many of whom were innocent parties.
Eventually 56 black people were arrested, but whilst Nat
Turner was in hiding, the violence continued.
As a result of the rebellion, further laws were
in place to prevent the education of both slaves and free
men, they were also no longer allowed the right to vote, or
bear arms. The aftermath of the uprising and the havoc
caused by the militia was noted by Harriet Jacobs
after the birth of her son in 'Incidents in the
Life of a Slave Girl', and Henry 'Box' Brown
in his memoirs. To this day, opinion remains divided as to
whether Nat Turner was a terrorist or simply an enslaved man standing up for his rights as a human being.
The Famous Slave and Rebellion Leader Nat Turner: Victims of
the Southampton Insurrection
According to 'The Confessions of Nat Turner' as written by his lawyer, Thomas Gray, Nat
survived his followers.
At the time of the rebellion Nat Turner had been living with a kind master, Joseph Travers, but it was
here that the killing spree started. The account given to Thomas Gray from Nat Turner explained
the progression of the evening; Nat Turner had struck his master with a hatchet but the blow to the head
had not killed him in the darkness. His master was instead killed by a fellow slave, and the
family of five all met the same fate. The baby had initially been forgotten in the crib, but this
was later addressed by two slaves party to the
earlier murder of the rest of the family.