Nat Turner's Alleged Skull to Be Returned to Descendants

A skull believed to be part of the remains of slave-revolt leader Nat Turner will be handed over to two of his descendants Friday. The skull will be presented at a private National Civil Rights Hall of Fame luncheon in Gary, Indiana, by the city’s former mayor, Richard Hatcher. The artifact came into Hatcher’s possession in 2002 when a local activist gave it to him for a proposed civil-rights museum. However, the provenance of the skull is something of a mystery, and is said to have been held for generations by the family of a doctor who handled Turner’s body after he was hanged and decapitated in 1831 after the failed rebellion. Virginia’s Southampton County Clerk Rick Francis said he would be happy to aid in its proper authentication: “I’ve got some DNA from a gentleman I am confident is a descendant of Nat Turner and we have some artifacts, particularly the rope, that will serve for further study if DNA can be taken off of that,” Francis told the Chicago Tribune.