Nat Turner was an enslaved preacher who led a bloody slave rebellion in 1831 against the white residents of Southampton County, Virginia.
Nat Turner was born into slavery in Southampton County, Virginia on October 2, 1800 on Benjamin Turner’s plantation. Benjamin Turner permitted Nat to learn to read and write, which was prohibited on most plantations. At a very young age Nat Turner was believed to be a prophet, and his mother and those closest to him explained to Turner that he was going to do a great thing someday. Turner devoted his free time to prayer and his Bible. After Benjamin Turner’s death Nat passed through the ownership of three other masters until he came to work on the property of John Travis. Nat Turner’s deep sense of religion led him to believe in divine signs and he heard the voice of God speak to him. He believed his Heavenly inspired visions were instructing him to rise against slave owners with violent condemnation. Turner was finally caught and hung on November 11, 1831. Until the very end, Turner maintained that it was God’s divine will that inspired him. Many others involved with the rebellion received the same death sentence. The rebellion terrified white Southerners, and the emancipation movement was halted in the area. The event strengthened the resolve of the Northern abolitionists where many saw Turner as a hero.