Changing America: Nat Turner’s Bible, 1831

Photo: Michael Barnes, Smithsonian
December 13, 2012
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Photo: Michael Barnes, Smithsonian

It is thought that Nat Turner was holding this Bible when he was captured two months after the rebellion he led against slaveholders in Southampton County, Virginia. Turner worked both as an enslaved field hand and as a minister. A man of remarkable intellect, he was widely respected by black and white people in Southampton County, Virginia. He used his talents as a speaker and his mobility as a preacher to organize the slave revolt. This Bible was donated to the museum by descendants of Lavinia Francis, a slaveholder who survived the rebellion.

Gift of Maurice A. Person and Noah and Brooke Porter