Tag: Nat Turner

Nat Turner’s Alleged Skull Returned to Great-Great-Great-Great Granddaughters After 185 Years

Shanna Batton Aguirre, a fourth generation descendant of Nat Turner, holds a box containing what some believe is Turner’s skull. (PHOTOGRAPH BY JED WINER, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC)

article by Justin Fornal via news.nationalgeographic.com

PUBLISHED OCTOBER 7, 2016: A small group gathered today in a hotel suite on the outskirts of Gary, Indiana. The nine formally-dressed guests joined hands while standing around a table containing only a white box. Reverend John Jackson of Trinity United Church of Christ started the prayer.  “Eternal God, we are gathered here today to honor you, and to honor the legendary liberator, emancipator of the enslaved, and revolutionary of righteous, the Reverend Nathaniel Turner.”

The gathering’s 83-year-old host, Richard Gordon Hatcher, who served as Gary’s mayor from 1968 to 1987, planned the event at which a skull alleged to be Turner’s was turned over to his descendants.   The guests of honor, Shannon Batton Aguirre and Shelly Lucas Wood, both great-great-great-great granddaughters of Turner, flew in from Washington D.C. to accept the remains.

In 1831, after receiving what he believed to be prophecies from God, Nat Turner led the bloodiest slave revolt in American history. Accompanied by a small army of his brethren, the group fought their way through the countryside of Southampton County, Virginia, with hopes of ending the scourge of slavery. When the bloodletting ended, more than 55 whites lay dead.

The local militia quelled the uprising within 48 hours, but Turner managed to elude his pursuers. After two months he was captured, tried, and on November 11th, he was hanged from a tree in the town of Jerusalem, now Courtland, Virginia. It is here that the facts surrounding Turner end and speculation and lore begin. (Read about Turner’s complex legacy.)

Many stories have circulated about the fate of Turner’s remains after his hanging. Several versions claim that he was flayed, quartered, and decapitated before his torso was finally buried in the local pauper’s cemetery. His skull and brain were then sent away for study.

During the recent filming of the National Geographic Studios documentary Rise Up: The Legacy of Nat Turnerthere were frequent discussions with descendants and historians about the fate of Turner’s remains. Several had heard reports or read newspaper articles stating that the skull had been donated to former mayor Hatcher at a 2002 charity gala for the Civil Rights Hall of Fame, a museum project Hatcher has long championed.

To read full article, go to: After 185 Years, Nat Turner’s Alleged Skull Returned to Family

Filmmaker Nate Parker to Receive Sundance Institute’s Vanguard Award For ‘Birth Of A Nation’

The Birth of a Nation
Filmmaker Nate Parker as Nat Turner in upcoming film “The Birth of a Nation” (photo via deadline.com)

article by Erik Pedersen via deadline.com

The Birth of a Nation was the talk of this year’s Sundance Film Festival, and now the nonprofit behind the annual Park City event is celebrating the pic’s director-star. The Sundance Institute said today that Nate Parker will receive its Vanguard Award.

Parker, who also wrote the screenplay, will be honored August 11 at Night Before Next, a summer celebration benefiting the Institute and its artists on the eve of Sundance Next Fest at the Theatre at Ace Hotel in downtown Los Angeles.

The Birth of a Nation, which Fox Searchlight acquired for a festival-record $17.5M at Sundance, centers on Nat Turner (Parker), a literate, enslaved man and preacher whose financially strapped owner (Armie Hammer) accepts an offer to use Nat’s preaching to subdue unruly slaves.  As he witnesses countless atrocities — against himself and his fellow slaves — Turner orchestrates an uprising in the hope of leading his people to freedom. The film also stars Jackie Earle Haley, Gabrielle Union, Penelope Ann Miller, Aunjanue Ellis, Mark Boone Junior and Aja Naomi King.

Fox Searchlight opens the films in the awards-season sweet spot of October 7.

Watch 1st Trailer for Nate Parker’s Upcoming Nat Turner Drama “Birth of a Nation”

"Birth of a Nation" starring Nate Parker (photo courtesy Fox Searchlight)
“Birth of a Nation” starring Nate Parker (photo courtesy Fox Searchlight)

article by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (@lakinhutcherson)

Ever since actor/director Nate Parker‘s “Birth of a Nation” caused a sensation at this year’s Sundance Film Festival by landing the biggest distribution deal made thre ever, we have been waiting to hear and see more.  Today is the day, as Fox Searchlight has released the film’s first teaser trailer.  This drama about Nat Turner and the revolt he lead in 1831 is set to be released in theaters this October.  Check it out:

‘Birth of a Nation’ Lands at Fox Searchlight in Record $17.5 Million Deal at Sundance Film Festival

The Birth of a Nation Sundance
Image from “Birth of a Nation” (COURTESY OF SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVA)L

Fox Searchlight, the specialty films division of 21st Century Fox,  is closing a $17.5 million deal to acquire worldwide rights to “The Birth of a Nation,” a drama about the 1831 slave rebellion led by Nat Turner, that had an electrifying premiere at this year’s Sundance Film Festival.

The Weinstein Company, Netflix, Paramount, and Sony were among the companies making offers on the picture. Bidding lasted through the night, with one company, believed to be Netflix, offering $20 million for the picture. The deal is the richest in Sundance history.

The film was written and directed by Nate Parker, who also stars as Turner and invested his own money in the production. Parker is best known for his work in “The Great Debaters” and “Beyond the Lights.” The response to the picture was seismic and the Oscar buzz erupted as soon as the lights went up following the picture’s debut at the Eccles Theatre.

In a rave reviewVariety critic Justin Chang wrote, “‘The Birth of a Nation’ exists to provoke a serious debate about the necessity and limitations of empathy, the morality of retaliatory violence, and the ongoing black struggle for justice and equality in this country. It earns that debate and then some.”

The cast includes Armie Hammer, Penelope Ann Miller, Jackie Earle Haley and Mark Boone Junior.

article by Brent Lang and Ramin Setoodeh via Variety.com

Chiké Okonkwo Joins Ensemble Cast Of “The Birth Of A Nation”

Chiké_OkonkwoChiké Okonkwo (Banshee, BBC’s Paradox) has been cast in Nate Parker’s The Birth of A Nation. He joins an ensemble that includes Jackie Earle Haley, Armie Hammer, Colman Domingo, Penelope Ann Miller and Mark Boone Junior in the historical drama based on the true story of the 1831 slave rebellion led by Nat Turner.

Okonkwo plays a brutalized slave who becomes a freedom fighter and ally to Turner (Parker) during the rebellion. Prompted by religious visions, Turner and a band of about 70 slaves killed between 55 and 65 people in Virginia. The rebellion was stopped after two days, but Turner survived in hiding for more than two months.

Parker is producing and directing from his own script. The film is a Bron Studios, Phantom Four, Mandalay Pictures and Tiny Giant Productions picture, in association with Follow Through Productions, Infinity Entertainment, and Creative Wealth Media Finance. Producers are Bron’s Aaron L. Gilbert, Kevin Turen, Jason Michael Berman, and Preston Holmes. Filming is underway in Savannah, GA.

article by Jeremy Gerard via deadline.com

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