Looking for quotes from famous activist Nat Turner? We have rounded up the best collection of Nat Turner quotes, sayings, captions, (with images and pictures) about slavery, freedom, revolt, and more to inspire you.
Nathanial “Nat” Turner (1800-1831) was an enslaved man who led a rebellion of enslaved people. After learning how to read and write, Nat started preaching the Bible to other slaves. In 1831, Nat Turner began a revolt against white owners.
His action set off a massacre of up to 200 Black people and a new wave of oppressive legislation prohibiting the education, movement, and assembly of enslaved people.
Don’t forget to also check out these Jane Elliot quotes about activism and racial equality.
Nat Turner Quotes
- “I’m ready.” ― Nat Turner, 1831
- “Good communication is the bridge between confusion and clarity.”― Nat Turner
- “Twas my object to carry terror and destruction wherever we went.” ― Nat Turner
- “I was struck with that particular passage which says: “Seek ye the kingdom of Heaven and all things shall be added unto you.” ― Nat Turner
- “Having soon discovered to be great, I must appear so, and therefore studiously avoided mixing in society, and wrapped myself in mystery, devoting my time to fasting and prayer.” ― Nat Turner
- “It was unexpected. That’s just how it was. I don’t believe they were faster than us. I don’t believe they had more heart or dedication. It just fell on their side. That’s the reality of it.” ― Nat Turner
- “You have asked me to give a history of the motives which induced me to undertake the late insurrection, as you call it – To do so I must go back to the days of my infancy, and even before I was born.” ― Nat Turner
- “Since the commencement of 1830, I had been living with Mr. Joseph Travis, who was to me a kind master and placed the greatest confidence in me; in fact, I had no cause to complain of his treatment of me.” ― Nat Turner
- “And my father and mother strengthened me in this my first impression, saying in my presence, I was intended for some great purpose, which they had always thought from certain marks on my head and breast.” ― Nat Turner
- “The manner in which I learned to read and write, not only had great influence on my own mind, as I acquired it with the most perfect ease, so much so, that I have no recollection whatever of learning the alphabet.” ― Nat Turner
- “After having supplied myself with provisions from Mr. Travis’s, I scratched a hole under a pile of fence rails in a field, where I concealed myself for six weeks, never leaving my hiding place but for a few minutes in the dead of night to get water, which was very near.” ― Nat Turner
- “I was not addicted to stealing in my youth, nor have ever been; yet such was the confidence of the Negroes in the neighborhood, even at this early period of my life, in my superior judgment, that they would often carry me with them when they were going on any roguery, to plan for them.” ― Nat Turner
- “I had a vision – and I saw white spirits and black spirits engaged in battle, and the sun was darkened – the thunder rolled in the Heavens, and blood flowed in streams – and I heard a voice saying, ‘Such is your luck, such are you called to see, and let it come rough or smooth, you must surely bear it.’” ― Nat Turner
- “To a mind like mine, restless, inquisitive, and observant of everything that was passing, it is easy to suppose that religion was the subject to which it would be directed; and, although this subject principally occupied my thoughts, there was nothing that I saw or heard of to which my attention was not directed.” ― Nat Turner
- “All my time not devoted to my master’s service was spent either in prayer, or in making experiments in casting different things in moulds made of earth, in attempting to make paper, gunpowder, and many other experiments, that, although I could not perfect, yet convinced me of its practicability if I had the means.” ― Nat Turner
- “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
- “When I got large enough to go to work, while employed I was reflecting on many things that would present themselves to my imagination; and whenever an opportunity occurred of looking at a book, when the school-children were getting their lessons, I would find many things that the fertility of my own imagination had depicted to me before.” ― Nat Turner
- “My grandmother, who was very religious, and to whom I was much attached — my master, who belonged to the church, and other religious persons who visited the house, and whom I often saw at prayers, noticing the singularity of my manners, I suppose, and my uncommon intelligence for a child, remarked I had too much sense to be raised – and if I was, I would never be of any service to any one – as a slave.” ― Nat Turner
Nat Turner Quotes From The Confessions of Nat Turner
The award winning, The Confessions of Nat Turner, written by Willian Styron, spread Nat Turner’s story to the general public. In 2016, a historical drama was released entitled The Birth of a Nation, based on the story of Nat Turner.
- “That I chose Independence Day as the moment to strike was of course a piece of deliberate irony.” ― William Styron
- “The most futile thing a man can do is to ponder the alternatives, to stew and fret over the life that might have been lived if circumstances had not pointed his future in a certain direction.” ― William Styron
- “I could scarcely remember a time when I was not haunted by the idea of slavery, or was not profoundly conscious of the strange bifurcated world of whiteness and blackness in which I was born and reared.” ― William Styron
- “Though it is a painful fact that most Negroes are hopelessly docile, many of them are filled with fury, and the unctuous coating of flattery which surrounds and encases that fury is but a form of self-preservation.” ― William Styron
- “It is evil to keep these people in bondage, yet they cannot be freed. They must be educated! To free these people without education and with the prejudice that presently exists against them would be a ghastly crime.” ― William Styron
- “Doctor, I will be as direct with you as I can. I have long and do still steadfastly believe that slavery is the great cause of all the chief evils of our land. It is a cancer eating at our bowels, the source of all our misery, individual, political, and economic.” ― William Styron
- “Why, I think, as you say, to wit, that they are bad times, and bad they will be, until men are better; for they are bad men that make bad times; if men, therefore, would mend, so would the times. It is a folly to look for good days so long as sin is so high, and those that study its nourishment so many.” ― William Styron
- “And I think it was a great Frenchman, Voltaire, who said that the beginning of wisdom is the moment when one understands how little concerned with one’s own life are other men, they who are so desperately preoccupied with their own. I knew nothing about you and that boy, nothing at all.” ― William Styron
- “And when white men in they hate an’ wrath an’ meanness fetches blood from that beautiful black skin then, oh then, my brothers, it is time not fo’ laughing but fo’ weeping an’ rage an’ lamentation! Pride!” I cried after a pause, and let my arms descend. “Pride, pride, everlasting pride, pride will make you free!” ― William Styron
- “For without knowing the white man at close hand, without having submitted to his wanton and arrogant kindnesses, without having smelled the smell of his bedsheets and his dirty underdrawers and the inside of his privy, and felt the casual yet insolent touch of his women’s fingers upon his own black arm, without seeing him at sport and at ease and at his hypocrite’s worship and at his drunken vileness and at his lustful and adulterous couplings in the hayfield—without having known all these cozy and familial truths, I say, a Negro can only pretend hatred.” ― William Styron
Quotes About Nat Turner
- “What strikes us as the most remarkable thing in this matter is the horrible ferocity of these monsters.” – The Richmond Enquirer (about Nat Turner’s rebellion)
- “You rally would have to be as crazy and schizophrenic as Nat Turner to not be affected; you’d have to have voices in your head louder than those around you to convince you that a slave rebellion was the right, sane response.” – Mark Ames
- “Although they confiscated horses, weapons, and brandy, they took only what was necessary to continue the struggle, and they committed no rapes. They even spared a few homesteads, one because Turner believed the poor white inhabitants “thought no better of themselves than they did of negroes.” – Stephen B. Oates
- “A fanatic preacher by the name of Nat Turner (Gen. Nat Turner) who had been taught to read and write, and permitted to go about preaching in the country, was at the bottom of this infernal brigandage. He was artful, impudent and vindictive, after having witnessed the atrocities committed against slaves and himself.” – The Richmond Enquirer (about Nat Turner’s rebellion)