Nat Turner and the Rising in Southampton County

Nat Turner and the Rising in Southampton County

by David F. Allmendinger Jr.

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Overview

In August 1831, in Southampton County, Virginia, Nat Turner led a bloody uprising that took the lives of some fifty-five white people—men, women, and children—shocking the South. Nearly as many black people, all told, perished in the rebellion and its aftermath. Nat Turner and the Rising in Southampton County presents important new evidence about the violence and the community in which it took place, shedding light on the insurgents and victims and reinterpreting the most important account of that event, The Confessions of Nat Turner. Drawing upon largely untapped sources, David F. Allmendinger Jr. reconstructs the lives of key individuals who were drawn into the uprising and shows how the history of certain white families and their slaves—reaching back into the eighteenth century—shaped the course of the rebellion.

Never before has anyone so patiently examined the extensive private and public sources relating to Southampton as does Allmendinger in this remarkable work. He argues that the plan of rebellion originated in the mind of a single individual, Nat Turner, who concluded between 1822 and 1826 that his own masters intended to continue holding slaves into the next generation. Turner specifically chose to attack households to which he and his followers had connections. The book also offers a close analysis of his Confessions and the influence of Thomas R. Gray, who wrote down the original text in November 1831. The author draws new conclusions about Turner and Gray, their different motives, the authenticity of the confession, and the introduction of terror as a tactic, both in the rebellion and in its most revealing document.

Students of slavery, the Old South, and African American history will find in Nat Turner and the Rising in Southampton County an outstanding example of painstaking research and imaginative family and community history.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781421422558
Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
Publication date: 03/01/2017
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 416
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.60(h) x 1.10(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

David F. Allmendinger Jr. is professor emeritus of history at the University of Delaware. He is the author of Paupers and Scholars: The Transformation of Student Life in Nineteenth-Century New England and Ruffin: Family and Reform in the Old South.

Table of Contents

List of Maps and Tables
Acknowledgments
Note on Surnames
Introduction: The Key Account
Part I: Masters
1. A History of Motives
2. Lines of Descent: The Turners
3. Alliances: Turner, Francis, Reese
4. Successors: Capt. Moore and Mr. Travis
Part II: Rebellion
6. The Inner Circle
7. The Zigzag Course
8. Toward the Town
9. The Rising
Part III: Telling Evidence
10. The Inquiry
11. Confession
12. Closing Scenes
Appendixes
A. Roster of Insurgents
B. Insurgents Who Separated before Parker's Field
C. Coerced Participants
D. Insurgents at Buckhorn Quarter
E. White Victims
F. Atrocities and the Tax Rolls
A Note on Historiography: Rebellion and Local History
Notes
Index

What People are Saying About This

"Meticulously researched and deftly argued, Allmendinger’s account of Nat Turner’s rebellion sheds new light on one of America’s bloodiest slave revolts. It illuminates the desperate, violent world of Virginia slavery and reveals in exceptional detail the motives, alliances, tactics, and confessions of Turner’s enslaved rebels and their white prosecutors."

Richard Follett

"Meticulously researched and deftly argued, Allmendinger’s account of Nat Turner’s rebellion sheds new light on one of America’s bloodiest slave revolts. It illuminates the desperate, violent world of Virginia slavery and reveals in exceptional detail the motives, alliances, tactics, and confessions of Turner’s enslaved rebels and their white prosecutors."

Peter H. Wood

"Impressive archival work that adds a rich body of substantive evidence to a topic many felt had been mined exhaustively."

Customer Reviews