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STYRON, William

The Confessions of Nat Turner

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"Here's what it got you, Reverend, if you'll pardon the crudity.  It got you a pissy-assed record of total futility, the likes of which are hard to equal.  Threescore white people slain in random butchery, yet the white people still firmly holdin' the reins.  Seventeen niggers hung, including you and old Hark there, nevermore to see the light of day.  A dozen or more other nigger boys shipped out of an amiable way of life to Alabama, where you can bet your bottom dollar that in five years the whole pack of 'em will be dead of work and fever.  I've seen them cotton plantations.  I've seen them rice layouts too, Reverend--niggers up to their necks in shit from day clean to first dark, with a big black driver to whip 'em, and mosquitoes the size of buzzards.  This is what you brung on them kids, Reverend, this is what Christianity brung on them boys.  I reckon you didn't figure on that back then, did you?

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And what else did Christianity accomplish?” he said. “Here’s what Christianity accomplished. Christianity accomplished the mob. The mob. It accomplished not only your senseless butchery, the extermination of all those involved in it, black and white, but the horror of lawless retaliation and reprisal—one hundred and thirty-one innocent niggers both slave and free cut down by the mob that roamed Southampton for a solid week, searching vengeance. I reckon you didn’t figure on that neither back then, did you, Reverend?”

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