November 5, 1831: In Jerusalem, Virginia, Slave Leader Nat Turner is convicted for “conspiring to rebel and making insurrection” and sentenced to death. Six days later on November 11, Turner was hanged and his body was flayed, beheaded and quartered. In all there were 45 slaves and 5 free black men tried for insurrection. Of those, 19 were acquitted, 31 were convicted with 19 executed by hanging and 12 sold out of state.
Nat Turner was a slave in Southampton County, Virginia who was proclaimed as a prophet by his fellow black slaves on the plantation. At 2 a.m., on August 21, Turner orchestrated a rebellion against slave owners in Virginia which began when Turner along with 6 fellow slaves, killed Turner’s owner, and his wife and children in their beds with axes. The group then moved from house to house gathering additional slaves and weapons along the way and killing every white person they came across in all killing 60 men, women, and children.
Prior to his execution Turner stated to his Defense Attorney Thomas Ruffin Gray that “…indiscriminate massacre … was resorted to in the first instance to strike terror and alarm.” The aftermath was even worse, as in the days the followed, an estimated 200 blacks were killed by white militias and mobs in retaliation.