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The' fires of Jubilee', is a book describing a grieving and fatal story about a black man named Nat Turner. Slavery was prominently spread all over America, most especially in the southern part. Born in Southampton County in Virginia states, it was more than obvious that slavery was awaiting Turner. One fact about this county is that it was dominated by the blacks compared to the whites. Her mother, Nancy, was brought into slavery by the Americans early 1795. After having worked for a short while, it is revealed that Nancy fell in love with another black, who happened to be a slave too. Together, they sired a baby boy named Nat Turner. Nat's mother was however displeased about the birth of this baby boy. The author reveals that Nancy preferred murdering the child to seeing him into slavery. Slaves were mistreated by the whites. For instance, they were subjected to long working hours with little food and wages given to them. Having undergone this painful experience, Nancy did not want his son to be a victim of slavery. At approximately five years, people in Southampton County, especially those who lived near Nat, began to realize some distinct characteristics in Turner. He (Turner) had strange marks in his head and back. Turner could recall and tell on events that took place even before his birth. People became proud of him since in most African cultures, children born with such marks and distinctive features would grow up to be prominent leaders with much influence to the people. Nat earned much respect from his fellow slaves because of his intelligence. He had an ability of reading and writing yet it was obvious to people that no one had ever thought him on how to read and write. His ability won him his master's favor. Mr. Benjamin Turner was highly impressed with Nat, and was witnessed in several occasions talking favorably with reference to Nat (pp 2- 15).
At about nine years old, Nat's life evolved immensely. His father vanished to the north never to return again. At this time also, people of Southampton was bereaved by the demise of Nat's master, Sir Benjamin Turner. This death meant that Nat among other slaves were to serve under Benjamin's son, Samuel Turner. Samuel was a serious and a devoted Christian. Most residence in the south were committed Christians and really observed church going. Concerning Christianity, the whites taught the blacks that the basic idea was to let them know that God is a supreme being. They further argued out that God allows slavery since white people are more superior to the black people. Lazy and disobedient slaves who questioned the whites were threatened that they would burn in eternal fire in hell.
Nat worked for several years in Turners' fields. Though the situation of working as a slave was pretty hard, Nat had only one refuge, religion. He spent most of his time meditating and preaching God's word to his fellow blacks. With much suspicion from the master on the competence of his slaves, Turner hired another supervisor to oversee the general duties of each and every slave. This decision by Mr. Turner greatly displeased Nat and compelled him to escape just as his father did. Amazingly, Nat never vanished for good but came back after a month. He claimed that he had a calling from the spirit that advised him to stay in the plantation and serve his master (pp 67).
Nat was sold for $400 to a new master named Thomas Moore upon the death of his former master Samuel Turner. This was very unfortunate to Nat since his freedom was far from coming to a reality. His sale to Mr. Moore eliminated the chances of him becoming a free individual as initially portrayed by Master Benjamin, to whom Nat served under before his demise. This idea therefore became a turning point in Nat's life since he had a strong desire of becoming a free man who could define his life individually without any supervision. Nat began by educating his followers on the evils that slavery subjected to them. He tried as much as possible to convince his followers that God always had good plans for them to prosper in their lives other than being into slavery. The blacks were subjected to hardship while in slavery. From the initial discussion, we realized that they were subjected to long working hours with less or no pay at all. Furthermore, some were molested and beaten up incase they committed a mistake. While giving out these teachings, Nat cited examples from the holy bible. He used an example of Moses escaping in Egypt. Moses escaped from Egypt due to the hardship that he underwent as a slave. This statement therefore represented the slaves in Southampton state that would one day walk away to their freedom. While carrying out such meetings, the whites were never suspicious since they believed that their slaves were loyal to them and could not do anything weird (pp 133).
After a short while, awareness was created amongst the slaves. Nat had doubled the number of his followers, to whom they swore their allegiance and commitments to him in secret. It is important to note that Nat was a person of sound mind. This is evident from the fact that he managed to influence his fellow slaves and educated them on what their rights were. The blacks were united more than ever despite their different personalities. At this point, majority of them had developed hatred towards their masters. This was the beginning of the slave rebellion, whereby slaves brutally murdered their masters demanding for their freedom. Nat had a strong believe that God, to whom they worshipped, would rise to their aid and help them defeat the whites. At the course of rebellion, Nat's army looted rifles from the whites that could enable them outshine the white's army. Despite the common hatred that had been developed towards the whites, it should be noted that not all the blacks retaliated against their masters. Most of them refused to join Nat's rebel, but the army had to press on anyway.
Upon realization of Nat's movement, the whites began to hit back at the blacks. They had to revenge for the live lost by their fellow whites. The white battalions killed the blacks mercilessly, including even those who never participated in the rebellious acts. Some of the events that developed at the course of rebellion included massive loss of lives and property. After the suppression of the rebellion, some of the Nat's army who were arrested were judged and hanged. Nat himself was caught hiding in the plantation and was taken back to Southampton county where he was later on executed after pleading guilty of his allegations. From a political perspective, the rebellion became a lesson to the whites who had slaves working under them. They learned that slaves too are humans and needs to be treated the same way as they are treated (pp 167).
During rebellion, a white man by the name William Lloyd Garrison published a book, 'The Liberator'. Being a renowned author, his newly published book stirred many questions in the minds of the people. Some of them attributed the causes of the conflicts which began massive killings to this book. After the suppression of the rebellion, the Europeans discouraged teaching the slaves on how to read and write. From the experience they had with Nat, the whites realized that an educated slave can be more dangerous than expected.
The author of this book worked hard in revealing the slavery especially in southern America. He tries to reveal the consequences of slavery and how education can influence the practice of slavery all over the world. From Oates work, there are many lessons to learn from. Personally, I learned from the readings that working as a team is better than performing certain tasks single handedly. Discipline is another important lesson learned. Had Nat's army been discipline, their chances of trashing the whites would have been higher. Their behavior of being drunk made the whites to easily suppress them.
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