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The Racial Politics of Nat Turner Tours

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tags: slavery, Nat Turner



The subject of an acclaimed new movie, the 1831 slave revolt led by Turner is also the focus of two tours, one black and one white, in a region still divided over Turner’s legacy.

Nate Parker entered his film The Birth of a Nation at this year’s Sundance Film Festival with little publicity and no distribution deal. It emerged having garnered the festival’s Grand Jury Prize, Audience Award, and a deal with Fox Searchlight for $17.5 million—the largest deal in Sundance history. Parker both directed and plays the central role of Nat Turner, who planned and carried out the most violent slave insurrection in American history in Virginia in 1831 that left 55 white men, women, and children dead. Allegations of rape involving Parker that date to his time as a student at Penn State, however, threaten to derail the movie’s recent premiere and its impact on how the public understands this particular event and the broader history of American slavery.

The controversy surrounding Parker’s past has obscured a far more interesting story currently playing out in Southampton County, where for the first time efforts are underway to interpret the 1831 slave rebellion for the general public.

Read entire article at Daily Beast


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