Nat Turner was an enslaved African American who led a rebellion of slaves and free blacks in Southampton County, Virginia on August 21, 1831, that resulted in the deaths of 55 to 65 white people. In retaliation, white militias and mobs killed more than 200 black people while putting down the rebellion. In the aftermath, the state quickly arrested and executed 57 blacks accused of being part of Turner’s slave rebellion. Turner hid successfully for two months. When found, he was tried, convicted, sentenced to death, and hanged.
All My Time Not Devoted To My Master's Service Was Spent Either In Prayer, Or In Making Experiments In Casting Different Things In Moulds Made Of Earth, In Attempting To Make Paper, Gunpowder, And Many Other Experiments, That, Although I Could Not Perfect, Yet Convinced Me Of Its Practicability If I Had The Means.
When I Got Large Enough To Go To Work, While Employed I Was Reflecting On Many Things That Would Present Themselves To My Imagination; And Whenever An Opportunity Occurred Of Looking At A Book, When The School-children Were Getting Their Lessons, I Would Find Many Things That The Fertility Of My Own Imagination Had Depicted To Me Before.
Having Soon Discovered To Be Great, I Must Appear So, And Therefore Studiously Avoided Mixing In Society, And Wrapped Myself In Mystery, Devoting My Time To Fasting And Prayer.
To A Mind Like Mine, Restless, Inquisitive, And Observant Of Everything That Was Passing, It Is Easy To Suppose That Religion Was The Subject To Which It Would Be Directed; And, Although This Subject Principally Occupied My Thoughts, There Was Nothing That I Saw Or Heard Of To Which My Attention Was Not Directed.
I Was Not Addicted To Stealing In My Youth, Nor Have Ever Been; Yet Such Was The Confidence Of The Negroes In The Neighborhood, Even At This Early Period Of My Life, In My Superior Judgment, That They Would Often Carry Me With Them When They Were Going On Any Roguery, To Plan For Them.