Africana Studies is pleased to announce the 2017 Black History Month Series
Throughout the month, we will be exploring different portrayals of Nat Turner's 1831 revolt, including Charles Burnett's documentary Nat Turner: A Troublesome Property and Nate Parker's 2016 film The Birth of a Nation. Our series will culminate in the visit of acclaimed filmmaker Charles Burnett on Thursday February 16, 2017 at 7pm in the CFL.
In summer 1831 self-educated preacher and slave Nat Turner led a slave-uprising in Southampton, Virginia described as "the only effective, sustained slave rebellion in U.S. History." Over fifty slaves left their plantations to join him in killing 55-65 white owners and to begin amassing an army to overthrow slavery as a whole. Turner was not rebelling to avenge wrongs done against him; rather he saw slavery as a whole as the evil he had to expunge. Local whites arrested Turner, his collaborators, and black people not associated with the rebellion, found them guilty and condemned most to death. Before his own execution, Turner gave an interview to white lawyer Thomas Gray. Gray's account of this interview is the foundation of all subsequent portrayals of Turner.
In response to Turner's rebellion, Virginian legislators briefly considered eradicating slavery in the state entirely, before they passed new legislation against educating slaves and allowing them to assemble. They also made it even more difficult for individual slave owners to free their slaves and stiffened the punishment for abolitionist activity.
Ever since, Americans have disagreed about the meaning of this revolt. Come to these events and decide for yourself, then come to the final panel hosted by WGST to discuss your opinions.
In addition to our series events, we have highlighted other events happening on campus related to Black History.