Va. woman donates Nat Turner’s bible to National Museum of African American History and Culture

Nat Turner's Bible on display at the National Museum of African American History and Culture.
Nat Turner's Bible on display at the National Museum of African American History and Culture.

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The bible of historic slave Nat Turner is now on display in D.C. at the National musuem of African American History and Culture, thanks to a Virginia Beach woman whose family has a connection to the bible.

One of the most talked about films of 2016, “The Birth of a Nation,” written and produced by Norfolk native Nate Parker, chronicled the life of slave and preacher Nat Turner.

Turner led a slave revolt in Southampton County Virginia in 1831, that’s where Wendy Porter comes into play.

Wendy Porter, an instructor at ODU, said her family has long running history with Nat Turner.

“We have a family church in Southampton County,” Porter said. “Nat Turner was baptized on Persons mill pond which is on the property of our church.”

“When Nat Turner and his followers came to the house to kill my step-father’s great great grandmother the slaves in the house hid her,” Porter said.

That history is how they come to own Nat Turner’s bible.

“When Nat Turner was found on family property, he had the Bible with him,” Porter said. “After his trial, it was no longer needed as evidence. They returned the Bible to us and it’s just been passed down and passed down.”

Nat Turner's Bible on display at the National Museum of African American History and Culture.
Nat Turner’s Bible on display at the National Museum of African American History and Culture.

 

That was until the family donated the bible to the National Museum of African American History and Culture in D.C. The same place she, faculty members and students from ODU will visit in honor of black history month, said trip organizer Jasmine Omorogbe.

“I think they’ll be even more inspired knowing that history doesn’t just come from other places, history comes from Norfolk or Hampton, Virginia,” Omorogbe said.

While giving up the bible was like giving up a piece of her family’s history, Porter said she finds comfort in knowing it has a forever home.

“We always knew the Bible deserved a better home, it was simply kept in a closet,” Porter said. “It had a story to tell but it didn’t have a platform and now it has the whole world.”

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