Phipps had Nat Turner
lay on the ground as he securely tied his hands.
He explores instead the collective memory of Nat Turner
, how individuals and groups of individuals have striven to find "transcendent meaning" in the nation's "troubled past" by thinking and writing about the most conspicuous insurrectionary slave in United States history.
In this essay I want to investigate a different group of "sources." I will consider four books that Styron read and drew upon, not for information about the Nat Turner
rebellion but for ideas about how to recapture the past and how to recreate Nat Turner
"There was not a thought in my mind that this could have happened," Jefferson told the newspaper after the Nat Turner
In little towns throughout the South, from Reidsville, North Carolina to Southampton County, Virginia (scene of the Nat Turner
Rebellion), Confederate statues have been moved from courthouse squares and town centers to less prominent places, like cemeteries.
In amassing the collection of some 35,000 objects, museum curators acquired genuine treasures, such as Nat Turner
's Bible and Harriet Tubman's delicate lace shawl and hymnal.
Bible belonging to Nat Turner
, 1830s, ink on paper, 12.5 x 8.9 x 3.8cm.
Nate Parker's The Birth of a Nation (out on DVD in January) brings the story of Nat Turner
's 1831 slave rebellion in Southampton, Virginia, to film for the first time.
That Styron's Nat Turner
narrates his story in prison while awaiting execution assumes new meaning in relation to the disproportionate number of minorities incarcerated today.
The original backstory was that he's a young filmmaker who had worked for years to get this project done --an authentic voice bringing attention to Nat Turner
, who is not known by enough people.
This film--which won an Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival in January and which Fox Searchlight bought for more money that any other film ever sold at Sundance ($17.5 million)--is the dramatic story of Nat Turner
, a slave who led a rebellion in Southampton County, Va., in 1831.
's rebellion inspired black and white abolitionists alike; as they would with John Brown decades later, many abolitionists admired Turner (if not always his violent means).