Nat Turner: A Slave Rebellion in History and Memory

By Kenneth S. Greenberg | Go to book overview

EIGHT
Nat Turner in a Hemispheric Context
DOUGLAS R. EGERTON

I … wrapped myself in mystery,” Nat Turner once admitted, and ever since, historical fact has remained the captive of his myth. With the possible exception of Abraham Lincoln, Turner, more than any other antislavery activist of the nineteenth century, resides largely in legend and popular imagination. Long before the publication of William Styron's 1967 Pulitzer Prize—winning fiction, novelists from G. P. R. James to Harriet Beecher Stowe to Mary Spear Tiernan tried their hand at fabricating the lost world of old Southampton, and over the years few historians have proven immune to the infection of popular culture. Indeed, Styron's wellknown characterization of Turner as a mentally unstable “nut” is only one of many attempts to depict the slave general as a dangerously irrational rebel; three decades earlier, Arna Bontemps, one of the leading voices of the Harlem Renaissance, begged off writing about Turner. There was the problem of Nat's “visions and dreams,” Bontemps lamented, as he explained why he chose instead to pen a fictional history of Gabriel's far more secular conspiracy of 1800. 1

But did Turner stand outside the mainstream of black resistance in the Americas? This essay seeks not merely to answer that question but to separate fact from legend by comparing Turner to other enslaved rebels who orchestrated conspiracies in the western hemisphere during (or shortly after) his lifetime. By measuring his revolt against those led by Gabriel, Denmark Vesey, and the slaves in British Jamaica and Demerara, as well as with the rebels in La Escalera, Cuba, Turner's enormous strengths and profound weaknesses, his organizational strategies, and his leadership capacity come into sharp focus. In so doing, one finds far more similarities

-134-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Nat Turner: A Slave Rebellion in History and Memory
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this book
  • Bookmarks
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
/ 289

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.