Nate Parker and Armie Hammer Star in Trailer for The Birth of a Nation

Posted on June 21, 2016

Slave rebellion in The Birth of a Nation

Fox Searchlight has released the full trailer for The Birth of a Nation. Nate Parker wrote, directed and stars in the film which tells the story of the slave rebellion led by Nat Turner in 1831. Set in antebellum Virginia, Turner was raised as a slave. He was intelligent and literate, and was allowed to become a preacher to preach to the slaves. When Nat's owner Samuel Turner (Armie Hammer) has financial difficulties, he accepts an offer to loan out Nat to preach to slaves that their owners were having trouble with.

Over the years Nat saw abuse, torture and the misery of the slaves in the area. He eventually led a rebellion that killed between 50- 60 white people and their families. His rebellion was put down by the militia, who hunted down the rebels and anyone they suspected of being a rebel slave.

The rebellion terrified slave owners and resulted in the quick passage of severe anti-black laws and the killing of many slaves who had nothing to do with the rebellion. Turner himself was hung for his crimes after eventually being captured by the militia. Over time Turner became a folk hero for standing up against slavery, although the fact the rebels also killed women and innocent children makes him an extremely controversial figure.

Historical scholars don't agree on what to make of Turner. The fact that he had visions and heard voices in his head lead some modern scholars to speculate about his mental state. What was clear was that he was very intelligent and was horrified by the cruel world he and his fellow slaves lived in.

The film also stars Jackie Earle Haley, Gabrielle Union, Penelope Ann Miller, Mark Boone, Jr., Colman Donimgo, Aunjanue Ellis, Aja Naomi King and Dwight Henry. It hits theaters October 7, 2016. Take a look:

Photo: Fox Searchlight Pictures