ASSIGNMENT: Who Is A Person In America?

1831 Nat Turner Slave Rebellion
Michael W
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Nat Turner

Portrayal of Nat Turner Rebellion

Write a journal/newspaper style article in which you take a neutral stance (as a reporter) and give the facts about the actual event. What led up to the event? What happened during the actual event? Did it have an “end” or is it unresolved? You are to write about this event when it happened, you are assuming the role of a reporter in 1850, 1920, etc., not someone looking back from 2011. You need to cite your sources, and they must include information only available during that time period. At least one source must be primary and/or an eyewitness account. Important - This work will be submitted to TurnItIn.com. We will provide you information about using this helpful resource!

Bloody Massacre Takes Place in Virginia

On August 22nd in Southampton County, Virginia, a Negro, Nat Turner, lead a large mob of slaves in a vicious attack that ended with the deaths of just under 60 innocent men, women, and children. The assault occurred while these families slept unprepared for the terror that was about to strike. The first of the murdered was Joseph Travis a man that married the widow of Turner’s former owner, Thomas Moore. At about 2:00 in the morning, Turner and his gang raided the house armed with hatchets, knives, and axes and slaughtered the Travis family. Throughout the night they would work their way down the row of houses killing everyone in their path.

Turner's gang consisted of 70 free and enslaved Negros. These heartless monstrosities didn't even spare children. Historian Stephen B. Oates said, "Nat Turner told his men to 'Kill all the white people.' (Turner)" One little boy who hid in his fireplace was one of the few survivors. He had to sit in there and watch his family be slaughtered. The only reason people didn't fight back is because Turner and his men used blunt weapons. Nobody could hear any gunshots because there were none.

Nat Turner had been planning to strike for a long time. The madman saw it as his destiny from god. He said he had inherited four signs from God. "while laboring in the field, I discovered drops of blood on the corn, as though it were dew from heaven." (Nat Turner) One of the signs was when he was working out on the field one morning in 1824 and came across blood that was in the form of dew. Finally in February of this year Turner saw the sun turn green and that is what inspired him to arrange this horrific event. Nat Turner and 55 other Negros have been given the death penalty and are waiting for their hanging next month.

Task 1: Mastery Rubric
A quality news article will:
•open with an attention-grabbing headline
•identify the author's name and the date of the publication (in the past)
•develop the 5 W's in three power paragraphs
•paragraph 1: contain an interesting lead
•paragraph 2: correctly cite a secondary source (an indirect quote)
•paragraph 3: correctly cite a primary source (eyewitness account)
•maintain appropriate journalistic voice
•read like an article written in the same time period as the event occurred
•be free of mechanics and Works Cited errors

What is the Argument?
Should other people be punished do to one person's actions because of their race?

PROMPT 1: Why did the majority of Americans not recognize the rights of members of this group

Back in 1831 black people didn't have civil rights yet, for that matter most people didn't even believe they were human and that is why the term "negro" was used. When Nat Turner was arrested and put to death, many innocent Blacks were also put to death or punished just to make a point. “But in the hysterical climate that followed the rebellion, close to 200 black people, many of whom had nothing to do with the rebellion, were murdered by white mobs.” (Nat Turner’s Rebellion 1831 article) Another thing that was caused by the Rebellion was the deaths of hundreds of Blacks at the hands of angry white people. "The slaughter of many blacks without trial and under circumstances of great barbarity." (The editor of the Richmond Whig) All these African-Americans were killed without jurisdiction and without being guilty of anything because of their race.

PROMPT 2: How did advocates for the minority group shed light on this injustice?

After the rebellion nobody stood up to the court and tried to stop the killing and punishing of hundreds of innocent blacks. In 1831 blacks didn't have anywhere near as many rights as they do today. "Before the Nat Turner Revolt, there was a small but ineffectual antislavery movement in Virginia." (Nat Turner's Rebellion article) This revolt happened about a month before this happened but there were no revolts after the rebellion. Hundreds of blacks were being punished and they had nothing to do with it. Nobody stood up for these people because back then nobody could or they might end up in jail.

Paragraph 1: Analyze the impact of the literary or artistic work for the minority group and/or American society as a whole.
If We Must Die by Claude Mckay

If we must die, let it not be like hogs
Hunted and penned in an inglorious spot,
While round us bark the mad and hungry dogs,
Making their mock at our accursed lot.
If we must die, O let us nobly die,
So that our precious blood may not be shed
In vain; then even the monsters we defy
Shall be constrained to honor us though dead!
O kinsmen we must meet the common foe!
Though far outnumbered let us show us brave,
And for their thousand blows deal one deathblow!
What though before us lies the open grave?
Like men we'll face the murderous, cowardly pack,
Pressed to the wall, dying, but fighting back!

(McDougal Littell Textbook page 946)

This poem is a good example for the rebellion because Nat Turner new he was going to be caught and put to death. He wanted to do this to make a point, he was definitely outnumbered because of all the people who thought blacks were animals and not people. He was also facing a murderous bunch of people because they killed his own kind like it was nothing.

Paragraph 2: CLOSING-- How did the event impact the debate on the argument?

This event happened a long time ago. This was back when most people didn't think blacks were people. This is just an example of how cruel we were to blacks. Of course blacks are people and it was inhuman to kill innocent ones. All of the people involved in the rebellion and even ones that were not didn't get a fair trial! These people deserved due process by law and did not receive it and were punished anyway.
TASK III: Artistic Expression Element Rubric
An outstanding product will.
•showcase a work that expresses a profound idea about your event and the argument surrounding it Great poem, can you demonstrate the connection to the event more clearly?
•be the best example available, not simply the first one you find
•demonstrate your ability to interpret the meaning of the literary or artistic piece What does McKay mean when he writes "let us not die like hogs" ?
•use the extended power paragraph format as a means to express your understanding of the event, argument, and how literature and art can reveal emotions and ideas
•reference sources accurately Use quotes to support your points
•mechanics are clean and effective
Rubric for the Time Line Page
An outstanding time line entry includes the following:
• Opens by identifying you, the author, and your event with a banner headline (see an example of a banner on the top of this page).
• Under the banner, in the table place two graphics or photos that illustrates an important aspect of the event.
• Thoughtful responses to each prompt are supported by credible sources representing diverse perspectives on the event.
• Each response should be posted in order (follow template instructions), contain few mechanic errors and follow the power paragraph format.
• The credibility of each cited source is established and internal citations accurately match the Works Cited.• TASK I and TASK II each introduce and cite two new sources; TASK III cites one new source.• The Works Cited lists 5 credible sources from the LC databases.