Today in labor history: Nat Turner captured

On this day in 1831, Nat Turner, leader of one of the largest slave revolts in U.S. history was captured. The rebellion began in August of that year was put down a few days after its inception, but Turner successfully eluded captors until for nearly two months. Over 50 slaves were killed in retaliation by militias and perhaps 200 more in the aftermath of the revolt.  A slew of new repressive laws were passed in the slave South as a result. 

W.E.B. Du Bois commenting on the Turner rebellion pointed to its economic origins. “The Turner insurrection is so connected with the economic revolution which enthroned cotton that it marks an epoch in the history of the slave. A wave of legislation passed over the South prohibiting the slaves from learning to read and write, forbidding Negroes to preach, and interfering with Negro religious meetings. Virginia declared, in 1831, that neither slaves or free Negroes might preach, nor could they attend religious service at night without permission.”

Photo: Encyclopedia of Virginia, courtesy of Wikipedia.


Special to People’s World
Special to People’s World

People’s World is a voice for progressive change and socialism in the United States. It provides news and analysis of, by, and for the labor and democratic movements to our readers across the country and around the world. People’s World traces its lineage to the Daily Worker newspaper, founded by communists, socialists, union members, and other activists in Chicago in 1924.