Gabriel and Nat Turner were two different slaves who both had one similar goal. They desired the sensation of achieving freedom. Both led rebellions that made a significant mark on history. Gabriel Prosser felt the need for change and planned a foolproof revolt. Unfortunately, the night of, there was a terrible storm that prevented them from fulfilling their duties. Not being able to handle the pressure of the secret, two slaves reported the plan to their masters, causing everyone to disperse and avoid capture and execution. Like Prosser, Nat Turner craved the need for a change and tried to apply it by sneaking into the night with other slaves and slaughtering 55 adults, children, and infants that they encountered. Although one failed and one succeeded in a way, the two men had similar intentions and tried to accomplish their dreams of freedom.
Gabriel Prosser was the ideal leader for rebellion. He had the appearance of a leader at the age of 20 because of his bulkiness. According to his brother, Gabriel was the one who influenced everyone to participate in the rebellion. Of course, Prosser would not have the power to influence other people if he was not previously influenced by outside sources. He was inspired by many things, “[T]he rhetoric of the American Revolution; the uprising in Saint Domingue, the radical words of white artisans who championed the working class; the success exhibited by free blacks; his own hatred of the merchants who routinely cheated the slaves they hired; his desire to be free and to prosper” (Gabriel’s Conspiracy). A more personal account that also led to his idea of rebellion includes an anecdote about how he bit off a man’s ear and got out of execution by the “benefit of clergy”, in which he only needed to recite a Bible verse and needed to spend a month in jail. After the attempted rebellion, the white population did not want more danger, “The Virginia Assembly acted to restrict the movement of all blacks–enslaved and free–and to set up a white public guard in Richmond,” but it failed (Salzman).
Nat Turner was viewed as a prophet. He often had visions from God and in one vision, he was told to lead a rebellion fighting for the end of slavery,”I heard a loud noise in the heavens, and the Spirit instantly appeared to me and said the Serpent was loosened, and Christ had laid down the yoke he had borne for the sins of men, and that I should take it on and fight against the Serpent, for the time was fast approaching when the first should be last and the last should be first.” (Nat Turner’s Rebellion). After the rebellion was over, the white people called for the slaying of as many blacks as how many whites were killed. Instead of 55 black deaths, there were 200 and many slaves were banished. Majority of the slaves that felt Turner’s wrath were not involved with the rebellion itself.
Gabriel’s Rebellion Black August 30th 1800 – Haki Shakur x K.Kinte The K.Kinte Show
“Gabriel’s Conspiracy.” PBS. PBS, n.d. Web. 19 Nov. 2012.
Salzman, Jack, David L. Smith, and Cornel West. Encyclopedia of African-American.
Culture and History. New York: Macmillan Library Reference, 1996. N. pag. Print
“Nat Turner’s Rebellion.” PBS. PBS, n.d. Web. 19 Nov. 2012.
Black August The Nat Turner B.L.A. Edition – Haki Shakur x K.Kinte The K.Kinte Show
Where there is struggle there is sacrifice and death is a common occurrence” The Black Liberation Army
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