“All the negroes look up to him as a sort of prophet.” The Old Dominion (1856)
Nat Turner is often depicted as having deep religious convictions, and these convictions lead him to preach to his fellow slaves and to become the moral leader among them. In Thomas Gray’s Confessions, Turner tells of various divine signs he received throughout his life. Such signs cause him to return to plantation life after running away in 1825, to baptize himself, and ultimately, to plot the rebellion. While some depictions merely emphasize that religious beliefs motivated Turner, others portray him as a martyr whose legacy should be an inspiration to others.