Nat Turner Vs Celia: Who Should Not Be Executed
Slave labor was the norm in 1850. After the owner no longer required them, the slaves would be sold. This would force the slave to leave the family. Slavery was a life of uncertainty. You might be punished one moment and then sold to another. In this essay I’ll explain the crimes that Celia and Nat Turner committed, and give my recommendation for which one should be spared execution.
Nat Turner, a slave born in Southhampton, deep in the heart of southern Virginia was raised by his parents. Nat Turner lived a standard slave’s life. He had limited freedom. Nat couldn’t get married, vote, buy property, or make money. Nat Turner was the spiritual leader of his fellow slaves on his plantation in his 20s. Turner had a dream, “I saw black and white spirits fighting …” Nat Turner believed that God gave him the vision that he needed to fight against the government or authority. Turner lived in the Travis home, a family he referred to as kind. Turner credited Travis with giving him confidence. Nat and his fellow servants murdered Nat’s master and family that night after Nat and them had eaten together.
Nat Turner, Henry, Will and other slaves went to different plantations and killed the white families there, including children and women. This uprising was to spare no one, regardless of age or gender. Turner was adamant to set off on his journey. Nat had about fifty or sixty fellow slaves mounted with guns and swords. While they were heading towards the house of Mr. James W. Parker, a group white men fired at them and scattered them. Turner and his crew halted in response to Turner’s instructions, while the white men, around 18, began to approach them. “I scratched. The hole I made under the fence rails of a field where I spent six weeks hiding …”. Nat Turner chose a place to hide, and would only leave to fetch water for short periods of time. He was captured, taken to prison, and tried.
Robert Newsom also bought Celia at the age of fourteen. Robert bought Celia after his wife died. He was looking for a new sexual companion. He rapes the woman the night after buying her. Celia: A Slave states, “Modern studies indicate that rapes victims experience many responses, such as fear, rage or an overwhelming feeling. She was pregnant soon after but didn’t realize who the father of her child was. George told her that if she didn’t stop talking Robert, he wouldn’t talk to her.
Celia’s Attorney, Jameson developed a legal defense for Celia to defend herself legally from rape. Jameson uses other witnesses to show that Celia Newsom was sexually abusing her. The debate about slavery increased in 1850. Kansas-Nebraska is a new act that allows state residents to vote about whether slavery will be allowed. It was also part the abolitionist movements that were going on in America to eradicate slavery. Whites were frightened by the slave uprisings.
Let’s conclude by asking which of Nat Turner or Celia should receive a more lenient punishment. Celia deserves the mercy punishment, I think. She was raped and got pregnant either by George, her lover or her “master”. Celia did not do anything wrong. Celia protected herself by saying no. Robert Newsom had been her “master” for years, but Celia was determined to keep George. In Celia, a Slave, it is stated that black female slaves are unable to defend themselves legally from either white or Black males …”. In the book, it is also stated that “In fact, conviction was not possible, since slave women weren’t protected by law from rape, regardless of their attacker’s color.”