Nat Turner’s Rebellion
Enslaved people rose up against slaveholders in Southampton County, Virginia, on August 21, 1831. Led by Nat Turner, rebels moved from plantation to plantation, murdering roughly 55 whites and rallying enslaved people to their cause. They planned to move on to Jerusalem, Virginia, seize supplies, and then make a permanent home in the Great Dismal Swamp. By August 23, the rebels had been defeated. More than 200 black men and women, both enslaved and free, were executed. Nat Turner’s Rebellion alarmed Americans and inflamed the debate over the future of slavery.
It is thought that Nat Turner was holding this Bible when he was captured two months after the rebellion. Turner worked both as an enslaved field hand and as a minister. A man of remarkable intellect, he was widely respected by black and white people in Southampton County, Virginia. He used his talents as a speaker and his mobility as a preacher to organize the slave revolt. This Bible was donated to the museum by descendants of Lavinia Francis, a slaveholder who survived the rebellion.
National Museum of African American History and Culture, gift of Maurice A. Person and Noah and Brooke Porter
Photo: Nat Turner captured by Mr. Benjamin Phipps, a local farmer-wiki