History 2310 – Homework: The Nat Turner Rebellion and Antebellum Slavery
Directions: Complete the reading listed below. Then type out your answers to the questions. You should submit your answers to Canvass and be prepared to discuss your answers to these questions in our class session.
1. The Confessions of Nat Turner and Related Documents
(you are supposed to purchase this book from the SU bookstore)
Read: a) Greenberg, “Introduction” (pp. 1-31)
Read: b) Grey/Turner, The Confessions of Nat Turner (pp. 38-58)
Where does the text, “The Confessions of Nat Turner,” come from? What are the sources strengths and weaknesses? How must the historian approach this source and what use of it can she/he make?
What are the various ways to connect Turner’s slave revolt to the history of slave resistance within and without North America?
How did the white community respond to Turner’s revolt in both the short and long term?
What kind of person is Nat Turner? Describe him. What did he want? How do you understand what his larger project was?
At the time and over the years, how have different people understood both Nat Turner the man and the revolt he led? What is the legacy of Nat Turner’s revolt?
Food for thought questions (do NOT answer):
1. Where does the text, “The Confessions of Nat Turner,” come from? What are the sources strengths and weaknesses? How must the historian approach this source and what use of it can she/he make?
~ How reliable is the text produced by Grey in his interview with Turner?
~ What are the silences in the text?
~ Where do we hear Grey’s interpretive voice?
~ Are there components of the text where we can hear Turner’s voice clearly?
2. Define slave resistance. What are all the different ways that slaves resisted the imposition of slavery? Draw up a list. Break this list down into categories.
~ How does Turner’s slave rebellion fit into the context of slave resistance?
3. What is the legacy of Nat Turner?
4. What would you call what Nat Turner did/accomplished?
~ Was Nat Turner a success or a failure?
5. Is violence in opposition to injustice appropriate, moral, ethical, justified?
For further study:
Nat Turner: A Troublesome Property (Documentary with re-enactments by Charles Burnett, 2003)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iwa8jgSdQKM (Links to an external site.)
~ Turner legacy and interpretations start at 57:30
The 2016 film, Birth of a Nation, is about the Nat Turner slave rebellion
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i18z1EQCoyg (Links to an external site.)
The American Yawp:
CH11: The Cotton Revolution – Section III: Cotton and Slavery (Links to an external site.)
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