Nat Turner

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Nat Turner Nat Turner was born October 2, 1800 in Southampton County, Virginia. He was born on the farm of Benjamin Turner. According to legend, his mother tried to kill him as soon as he was born to spare him a life of slavery, but she was tied to her bed until she calmed down.

It has been said that Nat's mother was an African queen from the kingdoms of the upper Nile, and that she was forced to march for one thousand miles to the Atlantic. We do know it is true that she was taken from Africa while in her teens and was renamed Nancy. Not much is known about his father, except that he was a second-generation slave.

His mother and grandmother taught him about his African heritage. While he was young, a traditional African search of his bodily bumps and marks proved that he would be a prophet.

Nat learned to read and write when he was a child. It was illegal in Virginia to teach a slave to read, out of fear that they would read abolitionist writings and begin revolts, but somehow he learned. He himself said that the alphabet "came to him" in a vision, finding the letters burned into leaves on the ground. Maybe some old slaves taught him. Most likely, his master's family taught him. Nevertheless, when Benjamin found out about his reading, he encouraged it-as long as it was only the Bible.

His grandmother, Bridget, had become a Christian and passed on the religion to Nat, which gave him all the more reason to read the Bible. He liked to read the Old Testament because he didn't like what the New Testament was about (forgiveness, but the whites didn't show that). Once he became a Christian, religion and freedom were in...