Nat Turner, an enslaved Black man, was hanged in Jerusalem, Virginia. After being convicted of leading a revolt against his enslavers, on November 11, 1831, in a rushed trial and conviction.
On August 21, 1831, Turner led a group of Black people to revolt against slavery. Other enslaved Black people joined the uprising. And Turner’s troops grew to 60 to 70 people who fought white enslavers before being defeated by a militia.
Many of Turner’s followers were killed or captured immediately.
Turner escaped and evaded searchers for weeks before being caught on October 30, 1831. Enslavers and defenders of slavery throughout Virginia wanted Nat Turner and all who participated in the revolt harshly punished as an example to others who his efforts might inspire. At least 18 Black participants in the uprising were executed along with Nat Turner.
However, in the months after the rebellion, angry white mobs began to torture and murder hundreds of Black people who had not participated in the revolt. They terrorized enslaved and free Black people. Enslavement worsened for thousands of enslaved Black people. As more cruel, vicious, and traumatizing forms of control were implemented. In response to Turner’s revolt, at least nine states including: Virginia, Alabama, Delaware, Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee. These states passed laws targeting enslaved and free Black people and limiting their mobility.
These laws prohibited Black people from assembling freely, conducting independent religious services, or preaching to a crowd of more than five people. Some states passed laws criminalizing the education of Black people, prohibiting Black people from learning to read or write. Some states also passed Laws banning free Black people from living in those states. Rather than retreat from the horrors of slavery in Central and South America, slave states in America committed to a new era of harsher conditions, dehumanizing control, and brutal punishment to control enslaved people.