It was a slave owner’s worst nightmare: slaves and free blacks traveling house-to-house, freeing those held in bondage and murdering those who owned them. Sometimes nightmares come true.
“The Prophet” entered the world as a slave in 1800. He escaped from his master once before, but when God told him to return to his master, he obeyed. God started to talk to Nat Turner again in 1831.
Turner began having visions of an apocalyptic battle between white and black spirits. He saw Jesus crucified one night. The next morning, he saw Christ’s blood in a cornfield. He saw a solar eclipse that February. It was a sign. The battle was near.
He started sharing his visions with other slaves. He recruited his soldiers. He waited for another sign.
The sun turned a bluish-green color on August 13, 1831. It was the final sign. He waited seven days and then it began.
Nat Turner led his apocalyptic soldiers into battle 176 years ago today.
More than 70 slaves and free blacks traveled from house to house throughout Southampton County, Virginia, freeing slaves and brutally murdering any white person within sight. They used knives, hatchets, and axes. They killed 57 white men, women and children.
It took two days before the slave rebellion was finally quashed, but "The Prophet" remained on the run for more than two months. They eventually found him in a swamp.
Turner stood trial on November 5, 1831. He was hanged six days later.
Another 18 blacks were convicted and executed for their role in the “Southampton Insurrection.”
It was a slave owner’s worst nightmare.