Grant Creates Nat Turner Tour

Grant Creates Nat Turner Tour


ChickenBones: A Journal

for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes



There are plans for an “electronic map” at the Rebecca Vaughan House in Courtland. Vaughan’s house

was the last place people were killed in 1831, and it will serve as the visitor s center for the tour. “Most

of the people who come to the courthouse in Courtland inquire about Nat Turner,” Updike said.



Nathaniel Turner

Christian Martyrdom in Southampton 

A Theology of Black Liberation

By Rudolph Lewis

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Grant Allows Creation of Nat Turner Rebellion Tour

By Linda McNatt



Stories have come down through Rick Francis’ family for as long as he can remember. Great-great grandma and grandpa were at home, hiding, when in August 1831 Nat Turner went on a rampage through southwestern Southampton County and killed nearly 60 people.

It came to be known as the Nat Turner Rebellion. It lasted two days, but its impact has endured. Many of Turner’s men and other slaves were executed. Turner was eventually hanged and skinned, according to historic accounts. Francis said recently that he’s always known it was three family slaves who saved his ancestors by hiding them inside the house when Turner’s men showed up.

“My family was on the business end of his ax,” said Francis, the clerk of courts in Southampton County. “When they got to my great-great-grandfather’s house, three slaves, acting separately from each other, saved the family. They hid my grandmother in a dark closet. The story goes that one of Turner’s men reached into the closet and touched her petticoat, but she didn’t utter a sound because she had fainted from fright.”

And now, the county has been handed a $420,000 federal grant to pave Nat Turner’s story in history. The money, with a matching $105,000 from the Southampton County Historical Society, will be used to create a driving tour through the county, marking Turner’s path. Historical Society President Lynda Updike said she hopes the money will open the gates of tourism to this county, which is a little off the beaten path of other historic sites in Virginia.

There are plans for an “electronic map” at the Rebecca Vaughan House in Courtland. Vaughan’s house was the last place people were killed in 1831, and it will serve as the visitor s center for the tour. “Most of the people who come to the courthouse in Courtland inquire about Nat Turner,” Updike said. “It’s amazing that this is such a topic of interest. Many believe that the slave insurrection led to the Civil War.”

Turner was 30 when he led the insurrection of roughly 70 then-current and former slaves. He interpreted a solar eclipse that appeared in the early summer of 1831 as a sign from God that a revolution was to begin. He believed he was meant to lead it. In the end, Turner was hanged near downtown Courtland. He was buried in a paupers’ cemetery nearby.

Francis said he is amazed by the area Turner and his men were able to cover during the two-day insurrection, about 25 miles each day, looting and killing along the way. Updike said the insurrection abounds with fascinating stories, such as that of the slaves who saved Francis’ ancestors and a slave known as Old Ben. Old Ben was owned by Newitt Harris, who was confined to a wheelchair. When he learned Turner was on his way, Ben guided his owner to safety in the woods, then did the same for Harris’ daughter.

Ben was shot on the day of the insurrection, Updike said, and Harris’ daughter, Charlotte Musgrave, cared for him until he died. She was said to have frequently reminded her children, “We wouldn’t be here if not for Old Ben.” Updike said she hopes the grant can bring those stories to a wider audience and help the county in the process.

The historical society, which moved the Rebecca Vaughan House to Courtland, hopes to open the tour next year on the 180th anniversary of the insurrection. “Visitors will be able now to come here and get a full Southampton County history experience,” Francis said. “It will certainly be a feather in our economic hat.”

The Virginian-Pilot © August 4, 2010

Source: Hampton Roads


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Nathaniel Turner, the Bible, & the Sword

A  Reconsideration of the 1831 “Confessions”

 By Rudolph Lewis

Biblical Scholars, Theologians & Other Commentators

on Nathaniel Turner of Southampton

Compiled by Rudolph Lewis


Nathaniel of Southampton or Balaam’s Ass

God’s Revelations in the Virginia Wilderness

 By Rudolph Lewis


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Zippety Doo Dah, Zippety-Ay: How Satisfactch’ll Is Education Today? Toward a New Song of the South

Dr. Joyce E. King on Black Education and New Paradigms

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music website > writing website > daily blog > twitter > facebook >

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The State of African Education (April 200)

Attack On Africans Writing Their Own History Part 1 of 7

Dr Asa Hilliard III speaks on the assault of academia on Africans writing and accounting for their own history.

Dr Hilliard is A teacher, psychologist, and historian.

Part 2 of 7  /  Part 3 of 7  / Part 4 of 7  / Part 5 of 7 / Part 6 of 7  /  Part 7 of 7

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Basil Davidson’s  “Africa Series”

 Different But Equal  /  Mastering A Continent  /  Caravans of Gold  / The King and the City / The Bible and The Gun

West Africa Before the Colonial Era: A History to 1850

By Basil Davidson

African Slave Trade: Precolonial History, 1450-1850

By Basil Davidson

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1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created

By Charles C. Mann

I’m a big fan of Charles Mann’s previous book 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus, in which he provides a sweeping and provocative examination of North and South America prior to the arrival of Christopher Columbus. It’s exhaustively researched but so wonderfully written that it’s anything but exhausting to read. With his follow-up, 1493, Mann has taken it to a new, truly global level. Building on the groundbreaking work of Alfred Crosby (author of The Columbian Exchange and, I’m proud to say, a fellow Nantucketer), Mann has written nothing less than the story of our world: how a planet of what were once several autonomous continents is quickly becoming a single, “globalized” entity.

Mann not only talked to countless scientists and researchers; he visited the places he writes about, and as a consequence, the book has a marvelously wide-ranging yet personal feel as we follow Mann from one far-flung corner of the world to the next. And always, the prose is masterful. In telling the improbable story of how Spanish and Chinese cultures collided in the Philippines in the sixteenth century, he takes us to the island of Mindoro whose “southern coast consists of a number of small bays, one next to another like tooth marks in an apple.” We learn how the spread of malaria, the potato, tobacco, guano, rubber plants, and sugar cane have disrupted and convulsed the planet and will continue to do so until we are finally living on one integrated or at least close-to-integrated Earth. Whether or not the human instigators of all this remarkable change will survive the process they helped to initiate more than five hundred years ago remains, Mann suggests in this monumental and revelatory book, an open question.

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The People Debate the Constitution, 1787-1788

By Pauline Maier

A notable historian of the early republic, Maier devoted a decade to studying the immense documentation of the ratification of the Constitution. Scholars might approach her book’s footnotes first, but history fans who delve into her narrative will meet delegates to the state conventions whom most history books, absorbed with the Founders, have relegated to obscurity. Yet, prominent in their local counties and towns, they influenced a convention’s decision to accept or reject the Constitution. Their biographies and democratic credentials emerge in Maier’s accounts of their elections to a convention, the political attitudes they carried to the conclave, and their declamations from the floor. The latter expressed opponents’ objections to provisions of the Constitution, some of which seem anachronistic (election regulation raised hackles) and some of which are thoroughly contemporary (the power to tax individuals directly). Ripostes from proponents, the Federalists, animate the great detail Maier provides, as does her recounting how one state convention’s verdict affected another’s. Displaying the grudging grassroots blessing the Constitution originally received, Maier eruditely yet accessibly revives a neglected but critical passage in American history.—Booklist

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The White Masters of the World

From The World and Africa, 1965

By W. E. B. Du Bois

W. E. B. Du Bois’ Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization (Fletcher)

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Ancient African Nations

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The Death of Emmett Till by Bob Dylan  The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll  Only a Pawn in Their Game

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson Thanks America for Slavery /

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The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg

The Haitian Declaration of Independence 1804  / January 1, 1804 — The Founding of Haiti 

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posted 5 August 2010




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