Category Archives: History

Nat Turner Slave Revolt 1831

Nat Turner Slave Revolt 1831

From 1831–1862: The Underground Railroad Approximately 75,000 slaves escape to the North and to freedom via the Underground Railroad, a system in which free African American and white “conductors,” abolitionists and sympathizers help guide and shelter the escapees.

Birth and education

October 2, 1800: Nat Turner was born  on the plantation of Benjamin Turner in Southampton County, Virginia, the week before Gabriel  Prosser (see Aug 30) was hanged after a failed slave insurrection in Richmond, Virginia.

Nat Turner’s mother was enslaved woman named Nancy, who was captured from West Africa. His father, presumed to be a slave named Abraham, ran away from the Southampton, Virginia, plantation when Nat was about ten years old

Benjamin Turner allowed Nat Turner to be instructed in reading, writing, and religion.

Nat Turner Slave Revolt 1831

First vision

While still a young child, Nat was overheard describing events that had happened before he was born. This, along with his keen intelligence, and other signs marked him in the eyes of his people as a prophet.

Nat was given as a gift, along with his mother and grandmother, to Benjamin’s son Samuel around 1809, and formally willed in 1810.

In 1821, Turner ran away from Samuel, but returned  after thirty days because of a vision in which the Spirit had told him to “return to the service of my earthly master.”

Nat Turner Slave Revolt 1831

Second Vision

By 1822, Samuel had died, and his widow, Elizabeth Turner, oversaw Nat until she married Thomas Moore, who took formal ownership of Nat in 1823.

According to a National Geographic article, “After Elizabeth’s death, Moore married Sally Francis, who became a widow and then married Joseph Travis, Nat’s last master, although Sally’s 10-year-old son, Putnam, was legally Nat’s owner.”

In 1825: Nat Turner had a second vision. He saw lights in the sky and prayed to find out what they meant. Then “… while laboring in the field, I discovered drops of blood on the corn, as though it were dew from heaven, and I communicated it to many, both white and black, in the neighborhood; and then I found on the leaves in the woods hieroglyphic characters and numbers, with the forms of men in different attitudes, portrayed in blood, and representing the figures I had seen before in the heavens.

Nat Turner Slave Revolt 1831

Third Vision

May 12, 1828: Turner “…heard a loud noise in the heavens, and the Spirit instantly appeared to me and said the Serpent was loosened, and Christ had laid down the yoke he had borne for the sins of men, and that I should take it on and fight against the Serpent, for the time was fast approaching when the first should be last and the last should be first… And by signs in the heavens that it would make known to me when I should commence the great work, and until the first sign appeared I should conceal it from the knowledge of men; and on the appearance of the sign… I should arise and prepare myself and slay my enemies with their own weapons.

By 1830, Southampton County was home to 6,573 whites, 1,745 free blacks, and 7,756 enslaved African Americans.

It was in 1830 that Turner was moved to the home of Joseph Travis with his official owner being the young child Putnum Moore. Turner described Travis as a kind master, against whom he had no complaints. The Travis plantation was lived 411 acres and had 17 slaves working his property in 1830.

Records show that Nat married an enslaved woman named Cherry who lived on a neighboring plantation, and they had at least one child, a son named Reddick. Nat would have to obtain a pass from his masters to visit his family.

Records show that he was outspoken in his beliefs that blacks should be free, and that freedom would be theirs one day; an opinion for which he was whipped in 1828.

Nat Turner preaches religion. “”Knowing the influence I had obtained over the minds of my fellow-servants…by the communion of the Spirit, whose revelations I often communicated to them… I now began to prepare them for my purpose.” (Image Credit: The Granger Collection, New York)
Nat Turner Slave Revolt 1831

Signs from the heavens

February 1831: there was an eclipse of the sun. Turner took this to be the sign he had been promised and confided his plan to the four men he trusted the most, Hark Moore, Henry Porter, Nelson Edwards, Sam Francis, Will Francis, and Jack Reese . They decided to hold an  insurrection on July 4 and began planning a strategy. However, they had to postpone action because Turner became ill.

August 13, 1831: there was an atmospheric disturbance in which the sun appeared bluish-green. Turner interpreted this as the final sign.

Nat Turner Slave Revolt 1831

Revolt

Nat Turner Slave Revolt 1831

August 21, 1831: Turner, Moore, Porter, Edwards,  Sam Francis, Will Francis, and Reese  met in the woods to eat a dinner and make their plans.

At 2:00 AM they launched the rebellion by entering the Travis household, where they killed the entire family as they lay sleeping, save for a small infant. They moved from one farm to the next, killing all slave-owning whites they found. As they progressed through Southampton county, other slaves joined in the rebellion.

They continued on, from house to house, killing all of the white people they encountered. Turner’s force eventually consisted of more than 40 slaves, most on horseback.

August 22, 1831: Turner decided to march toward Jerusalem, the closest town. By then word of the rebellion had gotten out to the whites; confronted by a group of militia, the rebels scattered, and Turner’s force became disorganized. After spending the night near some slave cabins, Turner and his men attempted to attack another house, but were repulsed. One slave was killed and many escaped, including Turner.

Nat Turner Slave Revolt 1831

Escape

In the end, the rebels had stabbed, shot and clubbed at least 55 white people to death.Turner escaped and remained free for nearly two months.

In those two months though, the militia and white vigilantes instituted a reign of terror over slaves in the region. Hundreds of blacks were killed. White Virginians panicked over fears of a larger slave revolt and soon instituted more restrictive laws regulating slave life.

Nat Turner Slave Revolt 1831

Capture

Nat Turner Slave Revolt 1831

August 30, 1831: The Richmond Enquirer published a description of the rebels’ “murderous career” that likened them to “a parcel of blood-thirsty wolves rushing down from the Alps; or rather like a former incursion of the Indians upon the white settlements.” The lesson gleaned by the writer of the article from the case of Turner, “who had been taught to read and write, and permitted to go about preaching,” was that “No black man ought to be permitted to turn a Preacher through the country.”

Credit was given to “many of the slaves whom gratitude had bound to their masters, that thy had manifested the grestest alacrity in detecting and apprehending many of the brigands.”

According to the article, General Broadnax, the militia commander of Greensville County, was “convinced, from various sources” of the “entire ignorance on the subject of all the slaves in the counties around Southampton, among whom he has never known more pefect order and quiet to prevail.” [full text of article]

Nat Turner Slave Revolt 1831

Harriet Ann Jacobs

Harriet Ann Jacobs, born into slavery in North Carolina in 1813, eventually escaped to the North, where she wrote a narrative about her ordeal of slavery.

In Chapter Twelve of Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, Written by Herself, Jacobs describes the harassment of blacks in Edenton, North Carolina, following the rebellion.

Her “Fear of Insurrection” begins with a statement that captured the irony of white society’s fear: NOT far from this time Nat Turner’s insurrection broke out; and the news threw our town into great commotion. Strange that they should be alarmed when their slaves were so “contented and happy”! But so it was. [full text]

October 30, 1831: Turner captured and imprisoned in the Southampton County Jail, where he was interviewed by Thomas R. Gray, a Southern physician. Out of that interview came his now famous “Confession.

Convinced that “the great day of judgement was at hand,” and that he “should commence the great work,” Turner took the eclipse of the sun to mean that “I should arise and prepare myself, and slay my enemies with their own weapons.”

Gray described Turner as being extremely intelligent but a fanatic. He went on to say: “The calm, deliberate composure with which he spoke of his late deeds and intentions, the expression of his fiend-like face when excited by enthusiasm; still bearing the stains of the blood of helpless innocence about him; clothed with rags and covered with chains, yet daring to raise his manacled hands to heaven; with a spirit soaring above the attributes of man, I looked on him and my blood curdled in my veins.”

Nat Turner Slave Revolt 1831

Trial and execution

November 5, 1831: Nat Turner was tried in the Southampton County Court and sentenced to execution. (BH, NT, & SR, see Nov 10)

November 10, 1831: Nat Turner hung. He was buried the following day.

No grave marker exists for Nat Turner, nor for his fellow soldiers. The rebels were caught, tried, and executed in different places, and their scattered remains lie under unmarked soil.

The November 14, 1831, Norfolk Herald reported that: “He betrayed no emotion, but appeared to be utterly reckless in the awful fate that awaited him and even hurried his executioner in the performance of his duty! Precisely at 12 o’clock he was launched into eternity.”

In total, the state executed 55 people, banished many more, and acquitted a few. The state reimbursed the slaveholders for their slaves. But in the hysterical climate that followed the rebellion, close to 200 black people, many of whom had nothing to do with the rebellion, were murdered by white mobs. In addition, slaves as far away as North Carolina were accused of having a connection with the insurrection, and were subsequently tried and executed.
The state legislature of Virginia considered abolishing slavery, but in a close vote decided to retain slavery and to support a repressive policy against black people, slave and free.

The basic information for this blog entry came from Brotherly Love, a PBS article.

Nat Turner Slave Revolt 1831
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1969 Toledo Pop Festival

1969 Toledo Pop Festival

September 14, 1969

Toledo Raceway Park
1969 Festival #39

From the Pizza Don’t Go Bad site:

Four short weeks after Jimi Hendrix closed the generation-defining Woodstock Festival with a soul-stirring, whammy-bar laden performance of the Star Bangled Banner, Toledo fans got a homegrown opportunity to air out their freak flags courtesy of the daylong Toledo Pop Festival.Culled primarily from the S.E. Michigan/N.W. Ohio axis of high-energy rock’n’roll, the day’s slightly disparate line-up featured a virtual who’s who of Rust Belt axe-slingers: Brothers Wayne Kramer and the late-great Fred “Sonic” Smith from the MC5; Ted Nugent from the Amboy Dukes; The Frost’s Dick Wagner, who would later go on to co-write, record, and tour extensively with the likes of Alice Cooper and Lou Reed, among others; Ron Koss of Savage Grace; Gary Quackenbush of SRC; Steve Correll of The Rationals; and, the soon-to-be-known-as “Leather Tuscadero” in the persona of one Miss Suzi Quatro, performing bass, vocal and jail-bait duties for the Pleasure Seekers, a band consisting chiefly of her brothers and sisters.

1969 Toledo Pop Festival

PDGB wonders if the concert promoter’s somewhat curious decision to place feel-good hit-makers The Turtles atop a bill filled largely with outfits known for their aggressive, potentially incendiary histrionics was -at least in part- a conscious decision intended to serve as a musical blow-off valve, The Turtles cheery melodies and infectious lyrics helping to ease the attendees transition from frenzied jam kick-outing to the parking lot slough that awaited them. Then again, maybe they just needed a big name to sell some tickets.

Either way, we’re sure the inevitable twenty minute-plus live rendition of “Happy Together” didn’t go unnoticed, reshuffling the synapses of numerous first-time psychedelic users so completely that even now, some forty-years later, the simple act of hearing said melody errantly whistled by passerby is capable of triggering intense psychotic episodes of such severity that even immediate medical attention followed by years of therapy can’t guarantee the return of normal brain activity. Way to go Boomers!

Held at Toledo Raceway Park (which we assume is the Horse racing facility of approximately the same name that still stands in North Toledo today) the $5.00 admission ($4.25 Advance) was an unbelievable bargain, even adjusted for inflation. 

1969 Toledo Pop Festival

 

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September 1 Peace Love Art Activism

September 1 Peace Love Art Activism

Immigration History

September 1 Peace Love Art Activism

September 1, 1884: during the week of September 1, 1884, Joseph and Mary Tape, immigrants from China who had lived in the United States for over a decade, attempted to enroll their eight-year-old, American-born daughter, Mamie Tape, in San Francisco’s Spring Valley School. Principal Jennie Hurley denied the Tapes’ request on the basis of their race, and State Education Superintendent William Welcher supported that decision. Welcher justified the denial in part by noting that even the California Constitution described Chinese-Americans as “dangerous to the well-being of the state.”

In response to the school’s refusal to admit their daughter, Mr. and Mrs. Tape sued. (Chinese American site article) (see January 9, 1885)

September 1 Peace Love Art Activism

BLACK HISTORY

Separate Car Act

September 1, 1891: in response to the Separate Car Act and increasing violence against people of color in the South, a group made up mostly of “Creoles of color” convened at the offices of The Crusader, a black weekly in New Orleans. The paper’s chief editorial contributor, Rodolphe Desdunes, contended that the “law is unconstitutional. It is like a slap in the face of every member of the black race.” The group, called the Citizens Committee, devised a test case to prove the unconstitutionality of the law. (text from The Way It Was In the South)  (see March 9, 1892)

Separate high schools

September 1, 1926: Arizona opened separate high schools for African-American students, separating black and white students. (Arizona State Archives article) (see March 7, 1927)

Josh White

September 1, 1950: Josh White was a noted African-American blues and folk singer who was also outspoken on civil rights and other social issues. On June 22, 1950, he had been named in the notorious report Red Channels as a Communist sympathizer. As a result, he was called before the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) to testify on this day. White did not back down from his political commitments, and in fact turned the tables on HUAC by affirming his support for civil rights and reading the entire lyrics of the famous Billie Holiday song, Strange Fruit, into the Congressional Record.  (Green Left Weekly article) (see Dec 10)

Sarah Keys v. Carolina Coach Company

September 1, 1953 : in Sarah Keys v. Carolina Coach Company, Keys became the first African American to challenge “separate but equal” in bus segregation before the Interstate Commerce Commission. The initial reviewing commissioner declined to hear her case, but Keys prevailed in front of the full commission. (Army dot mil article) (see May 17, 1954)

Emmett Till/fully prosecute

September 1, 1955:  Mississippi Governor Hugh White ordered  local officials to “fully prosecute” Milam and Bryant in the Till case. 

Emmett Till/Roy Bryant

September 1, 1994: Roy Bryant Sr., 63, died at the Baptist Hospital in Jackson, Mississippi of cancer. (BH, see Mar 16; see Till for expanded story)

Huckleberry Finn

September 1 Peace Love Art Activism

September 1, 1955:  a CBS television production of Mark Twain’s classic American novel, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, omitted the character Nigger Jim, who is central to the novel, and also any mention of slavery. (see Sept 2)

School Desegregation

September 1 Peace Love Art Activism

September 1, 1956: Clinton, Tennessee’s Clinton High School began to desegregate in the fall of 1956. The integration of Clinton High School was among the first Tennessee public schools to do so. Anti-integration campaigners from inside and outside Clinton protested the decision to integrate the high school. They were inspired by New Jersey white supremacist John Kasper and Asa Carter both of whom spoke publicly in Clinton on September 1 against the decision to integrate the high school. After violence was narrowly averted on the lawn of the Anderson County Courthouse on September 1, National Guard troops were called into the city for two months to keep order.

                The twelve black students who attended Clinton High School that fall became known as the “Clinton 12”. On the morning of each school day they walked together down Broad Street from Foley Hill to Clinton High. (BH, see Sept 29; SD, see Dec 4)

Race revolts

September 1, 1964: Harlem Riot, A grand jury report cleared Lieutenant Gilligan of any wrongdoing in the shooting death of James Powell. (BH, Sept 9; Harlem Riot, see Dec 20)

Orangeburg Massacre

September 1, 1973: a NYT article reported that “Cleveland L. Sellers Jr., a black activist, declared upon his release from prison this week that he would seek a new investigation into what he termed the “Orangeburg massacre.” “ (BH, see Sept 27; last OM entry)

September 1 Peace Love Art Activism

US Labor History

Labor Day

September 1, 1894: Congress declares Labor Day a national holiday. (see Dec 15)

Keating-Owen Child Labor Act

September 1, 1916: the Keating-Owen Child Labor Act, banning articles produced by child labor from being sold in interstate commerce, becomes law. [Our Documents article]  (Labor, see Sept 3; Child Labor Act, see June 3, 1918)

César E. Chávez

September 1, 1979: Chavez announced settlement of 8-month lettuce strike against Sun Harvest Inc as a “victory for both the union and the company.” The union continued its strike against five other growers in the Salinas valley. (see September 21, 1983)

September 1 Peace Love Art Activism

TERRORISM

September 1, 1926: Ku Klux Klan members in Virginia kidnapped Father Vincent B. Warren, a Catholic priest, because he had been teaching African-American children in Princess Anne County, VA.  They took him to a rural area and threatened Warren with guns and the prospect of being burned alive. The men released Warren several hours later.(altdaily.com article) (see November 25, 1930)

September 1 Peace Love Art Activism

Fair Housing

Housing Act of 1937

September 1 Peace Love Art Activism

September 1, 1937: the Housing Act of 1937, sometimes called the Wagner-Steagall Act, provided for subsidies to be paid from the U.S. government to local public housing agencies (LHAs) to improve living conditions for low-income families. The act created the United States Housing Authority within the United States Department of the Interior. The act built on the National Housing Act of 1934, which created the Federal Housing Administration.  (Living New Deal article)

Mutual Ownership Defense

From 1940 – 1942: the Mutual Ownership Defense Housing Division of the Federal Works Agency part of the United States government, operating under the leadership of Colonel Lawrence Westbrook, was an attempt by the federal government to respond to the housing needs facing defense workers and develop housing projects for middle-income families utilizing the cooperative/mutual housing ownership concept. Under pressure by entrenched real estate interests and intense and competing resource needs caused by World War II, the Division lasted for only two years. As stated in the Second Annual Report of the Federal Works Agency: “As a group, defense workers were also poor candidates for individual home ownership because the duration of their employment was uncertain, and because few of them had savings adequate to finance the downpayment on new homes. Recognizing these characteristics, attention was given early to some special form of housing to meet squarely the economic problem of the defense worker and one which, at the same time, might lead to an ultimate solution of the housing problems of millions of other American families of similar economic status.”(howderfamily.com article) (see November 1, 1943)

September 1 Peace Love Art Activism

Japanese Internment Camps

September 1, 1942: in the first specific ruling on the constitutionality of actions by President Roosevelt, by Congress, and by Lieut. Gen. John L. DeWitt in connection with evacuation of Japanese on the Pacific Coast, federal Judge Martin I Welsh of District Court of Northern California held that the Army was within its rights in evacuating, and in keeping in protective custody, all American-born Japanese as well as Japanese nationals. (see Japanese for expanded story)

September 1 Peace Love Art Activism

Cold War

ANZUS

September 1 Peace Love Art Activism

September 1, 1951:   Australia, New Zealand, and the United States signed ANZUS, a mutual defense accord similar to NATO in Europe. The alliance between the U.S. and New Zealand, however, has been suspended since 1985, after the institution of New Zealand’s nuclear-free zone prohibited U.S. nuclear warships from entering New Zealand’s ports. (US DoS article) (see Oct 30)

Nuclear/Chemical News

September 1, 1961: the Soviet Union ended a moratorium on atomic bomb testing with an above-ground nuclear explosion in central Asia. The USSR had ended speculation the day before in a TASS broadcast that announced it had resumed atomic testing, and by 5 Sep, had conducted three nuclear weapons tests. President Kennedy ordered the resumption of U.S. underground weapons testing. (CW & Nuclear, see Sept 15; testing, see August 5, 1963)

September 1 Peace Love Art Activism

September 1 Music et al

Jimi Hendrix

September 1, 1957: Jimi Hendrix, 14, attended an Elvis Presley concert at Sicks Stadium in Seattle. (Elvis, see Dec 20; JH, see May 31, 1961)

Sheila

September 1 – 14, 1962: “Sheila” by Tommy Roe #1 Billboard Hot 100.

Brian Epstein

September 1, 1967: the Beatles held a meeting at Paul McCartney’s house in London to decide upon their next course of action following the death of manager Brian Epstein. They decided to postpone their planned trip to India and to begin the already-delayed production of the Magical Mystery Tour movie. They had two songs already recorded for the movie, ‘Magical Mystery Tour’ and ‘Your Mother Should Know’. (see Sept 11)

Roots of Rock

September 1 Peace Love Art Activism

September 1, 1995: in Cleveland, OH, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum ribbon cutting ceremony took place. The museum officially opened the next day. (see March 18, 2017)

September 1 Peace Love Art Activism

Vietnam

September 1, 1966: the Joint Chiefs of Staff granted approval of the  Operation Popeye project (next Vietnam, see October; see OP for expanded story)

SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE

September 1, 1967: the repeal of Tennessee’s Butler Act forbidding the teaching of evolution went into effect. (see Scopes for expanded story) 

September 1 Peace Love Art Activism

Stop and Frisk Policy

September 1, 1971:  Criminal Procedure Law 140.50 went into effect, which governs Terry-stops, or stop and frisks. (see June 15, 1976)

September 1 Peace Love Art Activism

Consumer Protection

September 1, 1998: the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991 went into effect. The law required that all cars and light trucks sold in the United States have air bags on both sides of the front seat. (US DoT article) (see March 30, 1999)

September 1 Peace Love Art Activism

Assisted Suicide

September 1, 1998:  Michigan’s second law outlawing physician-assisted suicide goes into effect. (see Kevorkian for expanded story)

September 1 Peace Love Art Activism

Hurricane Katrina

September 1, 2005: President Bush appeared on Good Morning America, and said that he understood the frustration of Katrina victims, many of whom are still waiting for food, water, and other aid. “I fully understand people wanting things to have happened yesterday,” Bush said. “I understand the anxiety of people on the ground. … So there is frustration. But I want people to know there’s a lot of help coming.” (see Sept 2)

September 1 Peace Love Art Activism

McCain/Palin

September 1 – 4, 2008 – Republican National Convention held in St Paul, MN. John McCain and Sarah Palin nominated for President and Vice-President.

September 1 Peace Love Art Activism

Women’s Health

September 1, 2014: U.S. District Judge John deGravelles temporarily blocked Louisiana from enforcing its restrictive new abortion law, but lawyers and advocates appeared to disagree about whether the judge’s order affects doctors at all five abortion clinics in the state or only those at three clinics whose lawsuit challenges the measure.

                Judge deGravelles wrote that authorities could enforce the law until he held a hearing on whether an order to block it is needed while the case remained in court.

                The law required doctors who performed abortions to have admitting privileges to a hospital within 30 miles of their clinics. The lawsuit claimed doctors haven’t had enough time to obtain the privileges and the law likely would close all five clinics. [NPR story] (see Oct 2)

September 1 Peace Love Art Activism

LGBTQ

September 1, 2015: Rowan County (Kentucky) Clerk Kim Davis denied licenses to gay couples saying she was acting “under God’s authority,” just hours after the Supreme Court refused to support her position.

                In a raucous scene in this little town, two same-sex couples walked into the Rowan County Courthouse, trailed by television cameras and chanting protesters on both sides of the issue, only to be turned away by the county clerk, Kim Davis.

                As one couple, David Ermold and David Moore, tried to engage her in an argument, Ms. Davis said several times that her office would not issue any marriage licenses. “Under whose authority?” Mr. Ermold asked.

                “Under God’s authority,” she replied. [NYT article]  (see Sept 3)

September 1 Peace Love Art Activism

FREE SPEECH

Colin Kaepernick

September 1, 2016: Kaepernick took a knee during the anthem and teammate Eric Reid joined him. This was the first time during his protest, Kaepernick wasn’t alone.

                Also, Jeremy Lane of the Seattle Seahawks sits during the national anthem

Lane became the first non-teammate to join Kaepernick in protest. He sat on the bench prior to the national anthem in Oakland, just minutes after Kaepernick and Reid took a knee during the anthem in San Diego.

                “I wasn’t trying to say anything. Just standing behind Kaepernick,” Lane said following the game. He added that he would keep doing it until he felt like justice was served. (FS & CK, see Sept 4)

September 1 Peace Love Art Activism
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