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Nat Turner's Capture

Updated: Feb 1, 2021

Illustration of the discovery of Nat Turner (1800 - 1831), the American slave who led an uprising in August 1831.

•‬On November 11, 1831, after a swift trial and conviction, an enslaved black man named Nat Turner was hanged in Jerusalem, Virginia, after being convicted of leading a violent revolt against slavery.

•‬Nat Turner lived in Southampton, Virginia. A religious leader who ministered to both free white people and enslaved black people, Mr. Turner studied the Bible fervently and often reported experiencing visions from God.

•‬He interpreted some of these visions as calls to revolt against slavery and white plantation owners and soon planned a rebellion.

‪•‬‪On August 21, 1831, Mr. Turner led a group of black people in an attack on a nearby plantation, recruiting other enslaved black allies along the way.

•‬Armed with firearms and tools, Mr. Turner's troops grew to sixty-seventy people and killed about sixty white people before being confronted and defeated by a militia.

•‬Many of Mr. Turner's followers were killed or captured immediately, but Mr. Turner escaped and evaded searchers for weeks. They captured him on October 30, 1831.

•‬Fearful defenders of slavery throughout Virginia wanted Nat Turner harshly punished as an example to others who might be inspired by his efforts.

•‬He was executed along with thirty other black participants in the revolt, but the enslavers' brutal retaliation and suppression did not end there.

•‬In the months after the rebellion, angry white mobs tortured and murdered hundreds of black people who had not taken part in the revolt.

•‬In addition, Virginia and other slaveholding states passed laws prohibiting black people from assembling freely, conducting independent religious services, or learning to read and write.