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Nat Turner

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Daniel Stover

January 31, 2007

History 1110

Dr. Erin Moore

Position Paper

(Nat Turner)

While attending Junior High and High school in Washington, DC I was presented with the stories of Nat Turner. But never were the stories or leanings so harsh. I learned that Nat Turner organized and set in motion a one night slaying of slave masters and their families. I was taught that the murder count was only a few dozen. But upon reading the article from “The Confessions of Nat Turner”, an article by Thomas R. Gray from an interview with Nat Turner, I was astounded by the events that had happened. There was no slaying, it was a one night “massacre” led by Nat Turner. The murders on the quiet night of August 22, 1831 in Southampton, Virginia was organized by a man who was possessed, had no clue how to use his power of persuasion, and whose actions I totally disagree with.

While growing to become a man, Nat Turner was believed to be a prophet from God by his fellow enslaved African Americans. Nat Turner believed that God spoke to him and showed him how to live his life. Turner believed that he was “intended for some great purpose”. Turner escaped to the woods only to hide from his master not to escape slavery as his father did before him. Turner hid in the woods for over a month where he said he saw entities in the sky of white and black men fighting and killing one another. He believed this was a sign from God, that this was his great purpose he was destined for, slaying his enemies with their own weapons. So after a month in hiding he returned to the plantation, much to the spite of the rest of the enslaved African Americans. Here he came up with a plan with four other black men, who were under his power of persuasion, to go on a one night massacre of as many white people as possible. He didn’t care who it was, young or old, male or female, if they were white and were caught in his path he would slaughter them. He killed over 60 white people that night and around 40 to 50 of his African American followers were killed while helping to execute his deadly plan. What God do you know that would tell a man to kill anyone innocent or guilty, deserving or un-deserving! So I say to you that Nat Turner was no prophet, he was a man possessed by the Devil, not guided by God.

Nat Turner was believed to be a wise and honorable young man by his fellow enslaved African Americans. Because of some coincidental events that happened while Turner was a youth the community of enslaved African Americans thought of Turner as a prophet of God. People listened to Nat Turner. They believed whatever he said was the words of God. Turner had the ability to persuade people into doings as he said because of this thought. But instead of doing great things with this gift he sought different measures. Instead of encouraging people to get their education so the whites couldn’t hold them back any longer he told them to



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