1. Slave-owners in Southampton County believed their slaves lived "good lives." They allowed the slaves to attend white churches, which instructed them to accept their lives as slaves, and allowed them some freedom of movement between towns. Still, some slave parents still tried to kill their children rather than have them grow up as slaves, and masters bartered and sold slaves just as they did anywhere else. Slave life may not have been as harsh in Southampton County as it was further south in Georgia, but it still had all the horrors - beatings, separations, inhumanity - of slave life anywhere (Oates 1-20).
2. Nat Turner's life as a young slave was typical of many others. He played with his master's children and received the same religious instruction as they did. He ate his meals in the Negro cabins and was supervised during the day by his grandmother (Oates 7-8).
3. Nat was considered an exceptional child because he was clearly a bright, smart child. He believed and convinced others the God had given him special powers, such as an ability to know about events that had happened before he was born. He also learned how to read and write without ever seeming to have been taught (Oates 11-12).
4. Nat's father ran away, leaving Nat and his mother behind, when Nat was very young. Shortly after that, Nat's master, Benjamin, sent Nat and his mother, Nancy, to live with Benjamin's son Samuel. So Nat was moved from the plantation he had lived on all his life. Soon after that, Benjamin died and Nat became Samuel's legal property (Oates 13-14). Nat was then required to go to work with all the other slaves, although he had long believed his exceptionality would save him from the typical slave's life.
5. Nat believed that, despite his slave status, he had been chosen by God for a special purpose. He recognized the power of the black preachers and was drawn to their position as leaders of the people. He was particularly struck by a cer...