Nat Turner Was Executed 184 Years Ago, Today

By Sameer Rao Nov 11, 2015

Although slaves throughout the Americas were involved in revolts before and after Nat Turner’s, there are arguably no other rebellions as widely known. 

Historians still dispute the exact numbers, but in the summer of 1831, Turner and nearly 75 slaves and free black citizens rebelled against the system and killed about 50 white people living on plantations in Virginia’s Southampton County. White militias suppressed the uprising after two days. Civilians and the military then massacred close to 200 black people in the county and throughout the South in retaliation. 

Turner eluded capture until October 30, when a white farmer found him. He was executed by hanging in Jerusalem, Virginia, on November 11, 1831. His corpse was then defiled and quartered.

Although the rebellion and its suppression resulted in significant carnage and a legal response that robbed slaves of even more basic rights, it did open some eyes to the horrors of slavery and what measures some would take to respond to oppression. 

For more, check out the History Channel’s depiction of Nat Turner’s rebellion.