"Nat Turner's Rebellion was a slave rebellion that took place in Southampton County, Virginia, during August 1831.
Led by Nat Turner, rebel slaves killed anywhere from 55 to 65 people, the highest number of fatalities caused by any slave uprising in the American South. The rebellion was put down within a few days, but Turner survived in hiding for more than two months afterwards.
...There was widespread fear in the aftermath of the rebellion, and white militias organized in retaliation against slaves. The state executed 56 slaves accused of being part of the rebellion. In the frenzy, many innocent enslaved people were punished. At least 100 blacks, and possibly up to 200, were murdered by militias and mobs. Across the South, state legislatures passed new laws prohibiting education of slaves and free blacks, restricting rights of assembly and other civil rights for free blacks, and requiring white ministers to be present at black worship services.
...Rumors quickly spread that the slave revolt was not limited to Southampton, and that it had expanded as far south as Alabama. Fears led to reports in North Carolina that "armies" of slaves were seen on highways, had burned and massacred the inhabitants of Wilmington, and were marching on the state capital. Such fear and alarm led to whites' attacking blacks across the South with flimsy cause–the editor of the Richmond Whig, writing "with pain," described the scene as "the slaughter of many blacks without trial and under circumstances of great barbarity." Two weeks after the rebellion had been suppressed, the violence against the blacks continued.
...Blacks suspected of participating in the rebellion were beheaded by the militia. "Their severed heads were mounted on poles at crossroads as a grisly form of intimidation." A section of Virginia State Route 658 remains labeled as "Blackhead Signpost Road" in reference to these events."