The ninth annual Nat Turner Slave Rebellion Observance took place on Wednesday at Nat Turner Park in New Jersey. The event commemorates the anniversary of the slave rebellion Turner led in 1831 in Southampton County, Va. where enslaved Africans killed 55 to 65 people.
The event was sponsored by the People’s Organization For Progress and the Friends Of Nat Turner Park. Tuesday, Aug. 21, marked the 188th anniversary of the Nat Turner Rebellion.
This year’s observation also coincides with the 400th anniversary of the first coming of captive Africans to North American shores at Jamestown, Va. on Aug. 20 in 1619. Several scholars and historians are in Jamestown this week to commemorate the arrival of the first people of African descent in America.
The Nat Turner Slave Rebellion Observances was also used to bring attention to the teachers from the Amistad Summer Institute. P.O.P. says that 100 committed New Jersey teachers could not participate in Teacher Trainings in Jamestown that would have yielded them each 47 Continuing Education Units. The New Jersey Department of Education reportedly didn’t cover the expenses for the teachers to attend.
“The New Jersey Department of Education, sadly, is using a narrow legal interpretation of the guidelines related to the managing of the federal funds designated to cover the excursion to block their participation,” Zayid Muhammad of P.O.P. said.
New Jersey is the only state in the country with a legal mandate to infuse its public schools curriculum with African-American history. The Amistad Commission was created for that purpose.
P.O.P. sent a letter to Governor Murphy’s office and to Acting Education Commissioner Repollet’s office urging them to release the funds.