Nat Turner was born a slave in October of 1800 in southeastern Virginia. When he was a child, his father escaped to freedom in the North, leaving him to be raised by his mother and grandmother. Nat Turner was born with unusual bumps and scars on his chest, and his mother said that, for this reason, he was to become a great leader. His first master, Master Benjamin, was not a harsh man, allowing him to study the bible and then to become a preacher to his slaves.

His life took a turn, however, when Master Benjamin died and Turner fell into the ownership of Master Samuel, who was a strict owner and ordered Turner to the fields. This is the point in Turner’s life where he began his intense hate for slavery - "It was then that the rage began, like a slow-burning fire in the pit of my stomach"(21). Turner felt betrayed, because he was told all his life that he wasn’t fit for slavery, and here he was, a slave. One day, his cruel overseer whipped him, and Turner ran away for thirty days.

His rage continued to grow throughout the years, and he felt that he had to do something. He felt that "the voice of the Spirit."(22) was calling to him, and that "God had ordained him for some great purpose"(22). Master Samuel died in 1822, and he was separated from his family, even his wife. This filled Turner with great sorrow and made him question why he, the "black" man, were to be enslaved. He wondered why it wasn’t the other way around. He knew there was nothing in the bible that justified this, and so it must be wrong. Seeking answers, he prayed and fasted, and was called upon again: "..and I heard a voice saying ‘Such is your luck, such you are called to see, and let it come through rough or smooth, you must surely bear it’"(23). In 1828, he had one more vision in which God told him that he needed to "slay his enemies with their own weapons"(23). He revealed his epiphany to a few other field hands, and he instigated a revolution. (see above).

sources: The Approaching Fury: Voices of the Storm (a pre-Civil War book), by Stephen B. Oates.