27 Best Nat Turner Quotes from the Enslaved Man

Nat Turner, born October 2, 1800, in Virginia, was a slave who became a preacher, claiming to receive divine visions.

In 1821, he escaped briefly but returned after believing he received a sign from God.

Turner’s visions prophesied a racial conflict, with one vision in 1825 and another in 1828 urging him to fight against white slave owners.

He saw an eclipse in February 1831 as a sign to revolt. On August 21, 1831, Turner and his followers began a rebellion in Southampton County, killing the Travis family and then others, recruiting more slaves and intending to seize an armory in Jerusalem.


The rebellion, which resulted in the death of 55 whites, was quelled by militias. In retaliation, white mobs killed between 100 to 200 blacks.

Captured on October 30, Turner was hanged on November 11 after dictating his “Confessions.”

His revolt intensified the abolitionist movement in the North, hardened southern slave codes and heightened sectional tensions preceding the Civil War.

I have handpicked some of the profound quotes by Nat Turner.

Top 5 Nat Turner Quotes


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.


That I chose Independence Day as the moment to strike was of course a piece of deliberate irony. ~ William Styron, The Confessions of Nat Turner.


Good communication is the bridge between confusion and clarity. ~ 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.


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, The Confessions of Nat Turner.

Great Nat Turner Quotes

Such was the vainglory of a black boy who may have been alone among his race in bondage to have actually read pages from Sir Walter Scott and who knew the product of nine multiplied by nine, the name of the President of the United States, the existence of the continent of Asia, the capital of the state of New Jersey, and could spell words like Deuteronomy, Revelation, Nehemiah, Chesapeake, Southampton, and Shenandoah. ~ William Styron, The Confessions of 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.

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, The Confessions of 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.

Nat Turner Quotes about Slavery

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.


Like animals, glistening with sweat…they ply their hoes in unison. ~ William Styron, ‘The Confessions Of 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.

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. ~ William Styron, ‘The Confessions Of Nat Turner’.

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, The Confessions of 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.

Nat Turner Quotes about Freedom

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.

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.


I discovered drops of blood on the corn as though it were dew from heaven. ~ 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.

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, The Confessions of 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.

Powerful Nat Turner Quotes

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, ‘The Confessions Of 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.

The gossip would get started…I was deeply afraid that with such feelings prevalent, our…[people] would become unsettled by the overall mistrust and lose heart for the venture or – even worse – would under this new pressure somehow give away our great secret. ~ Nat Turner.

And about this time 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 you are called to see, and let it come rough or smooth, you must surely bear it. ~ William Styron, ‘The Confessions Of 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.

So these were the 27 top quotes about Nat Turner.

If you like these quotes and sayings, then you can also read my other posts on Murray Bookchin quotes and Guy Debord quotes.

Share with others!
Chandan Negi
Chandan Negi

I’m the Founder of Internet Pillar - I love sharing quotes and motivational content to inspire and motivate people - #quotes #motivation #internetpillar