Who Was Nat Turner?

The story of Nat Turner can easily be re-enacted by portraying him as a slave from the age of fourteen to eighteen years. His history is one that needs to be studied.

The real Nat Turner did not want freedom, nor was he out to claim it. He just was fed up of living under the oppression of a regime. When the white men who owned him discovered he was living in rebellion, they met him on a bridge and whipped him, calling him a rebel.

Turner resisted these two men for three days, during which time he killed one man and wounded another. He kept returning to their boats, sometimes running away, sometimes returning, staying with his pursuers until they had killed him. During this time, they stripped him naked and chained him to the river bank. On the third day, a kind neighbor brought Turner’s body to the nearest town to bury him.

It was through Nathan Webster, the British Governor of Virginia, that the case of Turner became known to the world. He was in the habit of having his regular meetings with the black slave trade. One of the men who met with him was a British agent named James Allen.

After Nathan Webster made contact with Turner, he became convinced that the slave should be turned over to him, as his native son, Nathaniel, had been. Webster refused to allow Nathan Webster to give him back any of the property, however. The attempt was unsuccessful. Nonetheless, Turner was taken to Newport, a British colony in the state of Rhode Island.

It was at this point that the true form of the rebellion became apparent. Many people believed it was simply slaves and white traders killing the natives. But this was not the case. Turner said that those killed were slaves, as well. In fact, he testified that those killed were not the natives, but those white men who wanted him.

When the time came for Turner to return to England, his British captors used him as a bargaining chip, as he had already stated that he would not be sold or held any longer. This act was the first time in history that a black person killed a white man. The name “Black John” was born.

The name was also given to those who helped kill Turner, as many slave owners wanted to retain their property. It was this effort that made the rebellion a nationwide one.

There are numerous other characters associated with the story of Nat Turner, one of whom was William Lloyd Garrison, who was born out of the British settlement in what is now Philadelphia. The man had a deep interest in the subject, as he was known as a man who fought for the rights of all peoples, regardless of their origins. The figure of Liberty, which some historians have said represents a new concept in history, was founded by him.

When the significance of Turner became understood, his role was now much debated by cultural historians, and racial theologians, as their opinions were converted into great controversy. The Union military forces sent to remove slavery from the South and the North did not interfere with the life of the rebel, because he was more important as a military figure than as a political one. He is still regarded as the founder of the cause for emancipation.

There are those who will continue to debate Turner’s role. Others do not have a problem with him being the founder of the cause, as they believe that he was responsible for taking other lives for their liberation. Whatever you believe, it would be best if you leave history in the hands of those who know better.