The Sainthood of Nat Turner by vagabond ©

Nat Turner: God’s Instrument Of Vengeance

The Sainthood of Nat Turner by vagabond ©
The Sainthood of Nat Turner by vagabond ©

“Violence is man re-creating himself.”
— Frantz Fanon

And about this time I had a vision — and I saw white spirits and black spirits engaged in battle, and the sun was darkened – the thunder rolled in the Heavens, and blood flowed in streams – and I heard a voice saying, “Such is your luck, such you are called to see, and let it come rough or smooth, you must surely bear it.”
– Nat Turner


In 1831 in Southampton Virginia one of the greatest slave rebellions took place. It was led by Nat Turner who was a deeply religious man. Nat had secretly learned to read and the book he read the most was the Bible. He shared what he had learned with other slaves and became a charismatic preacher. Nat said that he had religious visions that made him feel as though his whole life were moving toward some singular purpose. He interpreted these visions to be an insurrection against the evil institution of slavery.

Nat gathered with some of his most trusted friends Henry, Hark, Sam and Nelson to work out how they would go about making the rebellion a success. For months the group met clandestinely, struggling and reasoning with the task. In August of 1831 a solar eclipse happened and that night the group met to solidify their plans.




It’s August of 1831 in the Southampton County of Virginia. Nat Turner and four of his most trusted co-conspirators are meeting together to make the final plans on their insurrection.

God has shown me another sign. The moon moved
across the sun and the sun went black. And so we can
no longer afford to wait.

We have the muskets we bought with the money
Sam’s sister and Nelson’s wife stole.

We will free as many as we can.
Then strike our first blow…

Those who are freed should be able to choose
between continuing to fight alongside us or
run for their freedom.

Nelson’s right, those of us who are fighting
are going to face certain death. Either in the
heat of the battle or at the hands of the white
man’s justice.

Does death scare you?

I don’t want to die…
But I also know that this ain’t livin’.

That’s why we have to take as many of them
as possible.

What do you mean Nat? Do you mean free as
many as we can or kill as many as we can?

Both. Why? Does that bother you?

No. I just wanted to be clear on it.
I wanted all of us to be clear on it.

Henry’s right. We have to clear minded about
what we do. We have to be sure where every
man’s mind is on this.

We need to make the greatest impact. We need
to strike a blow for freedom. We need to redeem
ourselves with their blood. Sam’s right. After
they’ve seen what it is that we’ve done, they
won’t be thinking about turning from this evil,
but they’ll see the harvest of blood that comes
from the seeds they sowed.

We should visit the Travis home first.

I agree Travis day of reckoning has come.

The the Travis home is first.

We will kill them all.

They took my son and nearly whipped him to
death. He still can’t walk right. Then they sold
my wife because she was tending to much to
his wounds and wouldn’t leave his side to
work the fields.

They drowned my baby brother cause he was
born with a twisted foot. My mother was strong
but when they killed her baby they broke her.
She refused to do anything after that refused
to work in protest of what they’d done. And
they beat her to death in front of me, so I
would never think of ever doing the same.
Kill them all, men, women, children.

You’ll make your momma proud Henry. The
Lord said vengeance is mine and we here are the
instrument of that vengeance.

It’s a strange thing to think about.

What’s that Sam?

We’ll never live in freedom but we won’t
die in bondage.

This is freedom. This is it right here and right now.
The moment we decided to rise up against these
Philistines we became free.

It is strange to think about. It’s rebellion that frees us
from both bondage and life. But I guess it isn’t
much of a life if you aren’t free.

A strange and heavy silence falls across the shack as the men think about the implications of their actions, of rising up against their oppressors.

I’m ready to die free. I’m not dyin’ in this bondage.
I’m ready to die a free man.

I’m ready to kill as a free man.

The conversations often went this way. They swung from the practical to the philosophical… These men were not just planning an insurrection they were coming to terms with the almost certain death that would come from their desire for freedom. They were coming to terms with willingly becoming a sacrifice for others. These were not just a series of conspiracy meetings they were meditations on death. After a long uncomfortable silence one of them, in his thoughts, would eventually be led back to the practical matters of their rebellion and break the spell of silence that overtook them.

I think that Nat should be in charge.
Of all of us he’s thought on this more than any of us.

I think we’re all in agreement that Nat should lead
the attack. What do you think about that Nat?

If freedom is worth dyin’ for then it’s worth killin’ for.
The Lord has told me that the time has come for the
first to be last and the last to be first. We are to be
the Lord’s sacrifice. We are the ones who will take
up the yoke of this sin so that others may be free.





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