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The Resurrection of Nat Turner, Part 2: The Testimony

The Resurrection of Nat Turner, Part 2: The Testimony

A Novel

  • reading group guide
The sequel to The Resurrection of Nat Turner, Part I: The Witnesses shows the story of Nat Turner through his own eyes, from growing up a slave through his violent uprising and death.

In the predawn hours of August 22, 1831, slave Nat Turner stormed into history with a Bible in one hand and a sword in the other. Leading a small army of fellow slaves in an uprising that left more than fifty whites dead, Turner became a tragic hero and a lightning rod for abolitionists. His rebellion put Virginia in the national spotlight and tore a nation’s trust.

In Part I: The Witnesses, Harriet Beecher Stowe encounters a mysterious runaway slave who recounts stories of people who knew Nat Turner, both friends and enemies. In their words are the truth of the mystery and conspiracy of Turner’s life, death, and confession. Part 2: The Testimony, relates the whole story—from Turner’s early slave years with his Ethiopian-born mother through the uprising, his trial, and hanging—from Nat’s perspective. It’s a story full of greed and betrayal, faith and courage, villains and heroes.
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  • Howard Books | 
  • 432 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781416578123 | 
  • February 2012
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Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

Cross Keys Area, outside Jerusalem, Virginia

Christmas 1830

Nat Turner felt in his pocket to be certain the gunpowder mixture was still dry. He knew exactly the time and place he would use it. He had been planning for months. He was on his way to meet the others.

It had been a cruel winter. Snow in Virginia was most often one or two fingers deep or none at all, but this winter it had been heavy and so cold that the top of it was frozen. When he stepped, for an instant he stood above it. Then, shoeless, he was calf-deep again in the icy powder. At first cold pain shot up his knee and... see more

Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide for The Resurrection of Nat Turner, Part 2 includes an introduction, discussion questions, ideas for enhancing your book club, and a Q&A with author Sharon Ewell Foster. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.

Topics & Questions for Discussion

1. What made Nat Turner different from his peers? What made him more likely to embrace rebellion?

2. Nat Turner describes the other captives (slaves) as heroes. Why?

3. What is the difference between the words captive and slave? Captor and master?

4. What relationship or relationships in the book most surprised you? What relationship or relationships most pleased you?

5. Captives were not allowed to speak their native language. Why? Captives were not allowed last names. Why?

6. Who were “the witnesses” who spoke to Nat Turner?

7. According to local lore, Nat Turner and the other slaves met outside the local church. Though they were not welcomed inside, why would they continue meeting there?

8. In his original handwritten diary, Governor Floyd describes the August 1831 “indigo sun.” Why might it have caused excitement? Would it cause excitement today?

9. Modern-day scientists say many Atlan see more

About the Author

Sharon Ewell Foster
Photograph © Amy Stern

Sharon Ewell Foster

Sharon Ewell Foster is a critically acclaimed, award-winning author, speaker, and teacher. She is the author of Passing by Samaria, the first successful work of Christian fiction by an African American author, and The Resurrection of Nat Turner, Part One: The Witnesses, which won the 2012 Shaara Prize for Civil War Fiction. Sharon is a Christy Award-winning author whose books have earned her a loyal following that crosses market, gender, and racial boundaries. She regularly receives starred book reviews and is also winner of the Gold Pen Award, Best of Borders, and several reviewers’ choice awards.

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