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Nat Turner         Early in the morning of August 22,1831, a band of black slaves, led by a lay preacher named Nat Turner, entered the Travis house in Southampton County, Virginia and killed five members of the Travis family. This was the beginning of a slave uprising that was to become known as Nat Turner's rebellion. Over a thirty-six hour period, this band of slaves grew sixty or seventy in number and slew fifty-eight white persons in and around Jerusalem, Virginia (seventy miles east of Richmond) before the local community could act to stop them. This rebellion raised southern fears of a general slave uprising and had a profound influence on the attitude of Southerners towards slavery.

        Nat Turner was born a slave in Virginia in 1800, owned by a southern man, named Ben Turner. It was common during this time for the slave to be given the last name of their owner.

In this relatively easygoing atmosphere at this particular plantation, Nat was allowed to learn to read and write. growing up, Nat played with his owners' son until the age of twelve. He was then put to work as a field hand. He believed that that God had chosen him to lead the blacks to freedom. After seeing a halo around the sun on August 13, 1831, Turner believed this to be a sign from god to begin the revolt. Beginning on August 22 and lasting for two days, Turner and seventy recruits went on a rampage. They killed Turner's master and fifty-eight more men, women and children. Many blacks did not join him because they feared the futility of his effort. The revolt was crushed within two days and Nat Turner managed to escape.

The first report of the Turner revolt was sent in form of a...