Nat Turner: A troublesome property. Producers, Frank Christopher, Kenneth S. Greenberg; Director, Charles Burnett; writers, Charles Burnett, Frank Christopher and Kenneth S. Greenberg. Library Call Number: E444.T87N38 2002.
Nat Turner was a Virginia slave, who led a fight for freedom in 1831 that became known as the Southampton Insurrection. Learning to read at a young age, Turner was convinced God had chosen him to kill the white people around him and free their slaves. A solar eclipse seemed to be a Divine omen to Turner; he enjoined four of his trusted friends to come with him and when another atmospheric disturbance occurred shortly thereafter, he began a rampage that spread from the plantation of his master into the countryside; he led between 100 and 200 slaves on a march through Virginia, killing over 60 whites in a county where slaves far outnumbered their owners. Hoping to free enough slaves to establish a foothold in the countryside, Turner’s force was finally overwhelmed by white militias, though he himself hid from them for months afterward. In the reprisals, hundreds of slaves--men women and children--were killed and the Virginia Legislature later made it illegal to teach slaves to read and write. This was one of the beginning conflicts that would culminate in the American Civil War thirty years later. Look for this Video in the 5th floor History Collection.