Who Was Nat Turner?
Nat Turner was a real guy.
So, while The Confessions of Nat Turner is a novel, it’s very much based on fact. Nat was a slave in Virginia who led a revolt and killed more than 50 white people in the 1830s.
Nat was bright. He could read and write at an early age, and he actually knew more about the Bible than many pastors in town. Turner was so smart, in fact, that after the rebellion many states passed laws that limited the education of blacks and made sure a white minister was present at all African-American services.
The racist slaveowners believed that Nat’s education played into his awareness of the injustice of his condition. Hence, the revolt.
As bright as Turner was though, he might have been a little crazy too.
On May 12, 1828, Nat Turner was working in the fields when he . . .
“heard a loud noise in the heavens, and the Spirit instantly appeared to me and said the Serpent was loosened, and Christ had laid down the yoke he had borne for the sins of men, and that I should take it on and fight against the Serpent, for the time was fast approaching when the first should be last and the last should be first.”
That’s a quote from the real Nat Turner.
Nat took that as a sign to kill all the white slaveowners he could, and all hell broke loose in Virginia.
The story begins after Nat has been captured and follows along as he recounts to a lawyer everything that happened during and leading up to the rebellion.
Obviously, this sounds like an intense novel. But I’m used to that by now. On with it we go.
(Image: Wikimedia Commons)