The Confessions of Nat Turner (1831)

Confessions of Nat Turner

the Confessions of Nat Turner: Banned in the South for its depiction of a slave rebellion.

Nat Turner led a slave revolt in Virgina in 1831 that killed 55 people, the largest number of fatalities to occur in an uprising in the United States. The rebellion was suppressed within two days, and Turner was hanged several months later after a trial. This book was written after the trial by his lawyer, Thomas Ruffin Gray, based on research done while Turner was in hiding and interviews with him before the trial.

The uprising shocked white Southerners, who responded with bloody and ruthless retaliation against enslaved African Americans. This book and the events it recounted ignited a debate on slavery in the South and led to further restrictions being imposed on Southern blacks. Unsupervised gatherings were banned in an attempt to prevent future such uprisings. The book itself was banned in some parts of the South.

Clements Library copy of The Confessions of Nat Turner