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Hampton Roads History Lectures

Join us for a FREE virtual Lecture

Select Fridays at 12 p.m. (ET)

Take a look back in history as John V. Quarstein, noted historian, author, and director emeritus of USS Monitor Center, along with special guest speakers, share significant events about our nation’s history and examine their direct ties to the Hampton Roads region.

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Upcoming lectures:


Nat Turner Rebellion

August 20 12:00 PM  (ET)

Presented by John V. Quarstein, director emeritus of the USS Monitor Center

About the presentation:
Shortly after slavery was codified, the enslaved sought freedom often resorting to violence. The 1831 Southampton County Slave Insurrection, also known as Nat Turner’s Rebellion, was the largest slave uprising in American history. Nat Turner was a religious mystic and preacher who believed he had received signs from Heaven to free his fellow enslaved people from bondage. The rebellion began on the evening of August 21, 1831, and by noon the next day, 57 enslavers were dead. Nat Turner had planned to attack Southampton County’s county seat, Jerusalem (today’s Courtland, Virginia). Instead, Turner was defeated on August 23 as his dreams of liberation faltered. About 60 of Turner’s followers were killed or executed. Turner’s rebellion shocked the nation and was a clarion call to abolitionists to seek the end of slavery as enslavers sought to protect the institution. These opposing forces would result in the Civil War.



Image credit: Discovery of Nat Turner. Wood engraving, 1881. William Henry Shelton, artist. Courtesy of Library of Congress. 

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Header image: Hampton Roads, Virginia, from official state map published in 1859. Public Domain.