William Lloyd Garrison
On January 1, 1831 William Lloyd Garrison (pictured here) started publishing his antislavery newspaper The Liberator in Boston. Garrison’s clear and unabashed abolitionist views expressed in his press were not well received, even in the North. Eight months later, on August 21, Nat Turner led a group of slaves on a bloody rampage through Southampton County, Virginia. Turner and his band eventually killed at least 55 white men, women, and children before they were stopped by the Virginia militia. Turner initially escaped capture by hiding out, but he was caught on October 30, tired and then hanged on November 11. Many Southerners blamed Garrison and his newspaper for bringing abolitionist views to their slaves’ knowledge and thus fomenting insurrection. Of course most slaves couldn’t read and the circulation of The Liberator was not of much significance this early in its career, but nonetheless, such views were not to be tolerated in the slave states.