1831 - Nat Turner’s Rebellion


Around two in the morning on August 22, 1831, a group of seven slaves emerged from the woods in Southampton County, Virginia, armed with axes, hatchets, and knives. They stopped at a farmhouse, hacked its four white occupants to death, took some firearms, and left—then remembered the family’s baby and returned to chop it to pieces as well.

Turner’s death, seen in a nineteenth-century pamphlet.
courtesy of peter morance2006_4_72
Read more »

Time Machine

25 Years Ago

August 3, 1981 Members of the Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization illegally go on strike. President Ronald Reagan announces that those who do not return to work will lose their job.

August 19, 1981 U.S. Navy jets shoot down two Libyan fighters that had opened fire on them over the Gulf of Sidra. Libya claimed the entire gulf as its territory, while the United States insisted it was international water. Read more »

Nat Turner Revisited

On the twenty-fifth anniversary of the most controversial historical novel in memory, the author of The Confessions of Nat Turner speaks of a novelist’s duty to history and fiction’s strange power not only to astonish but to enrage

Twenty-five years ago this November, I found myself in Ohio, where I was being awarded an honorary degree at Wilberforce University. The university, one of the few all-Negro institutions in the North, was named after William Wilberforce, the great British abolitionist of slavery, and so I marked the special appropriateness of this honor when I accepted the invitation a few weeks earlier.Read more »

Children Of Darkness

Sure that he was divinely appointed, Nat Turner led fellow slaves in a bloody attempt to overthrow their masters

Until August, 1831, most Americans had never heard of Virginia’s Southampton County, an isolated, impoverished neighborhood located along the border in the southeastern part of the state. It was mostly a small farming area, with cotton fields and apple orchards dotting the flat, wooded landscape. The farmers were singularly fond of their apple crops: from them they made a potent apple brandy, one of the major sources of pleasure in this hardscrabble region.Read more »