Public weighs in on trail logo

Published 9:34 am Friday, December 21, 2012

Regional historian John Quarstein, left, listens as Gerard Corneille makes a point during the public meeting to discuss a logo for the Southampton Insurrection Trail Project. -- Stephen H. Cowles | Tidewater News


Two of several logo designs offered to mark the project route. -- Submitted

COURTLAND—Including Nat Turner’s name on a proposed project logo for the 1831 Southampton Insurrection Trail was the consensus at a Tuesday meeting in Courtland.

Regional historian John Quarstein led a discussion with nearly 30 people who came to critique several logos. Whatever is chosen will be used in connection with the project backed by the county’s Historical Society.

“What was the reasoning behind using insurrection rather than slave revolt,” Lavenia McGee of Capron asked. She thought the latter term has a “higher magnitude” of recognition.

Quarstein said that at a naming meeting five years ago, which included some of those present, people seemed to favor the term insurrection.

“Why not include Nat Turner himself,” said James McGee, who is Lavenia’s husband.

Deborah Goodwyn of Branchville said she’s concerned that “the horrifics of slavery be included.”

Sheri Bailey of Portsmouth, who offered her services as a writer for the project, said she thinks that Turner’s action was “the first battle of the Civil War.”

On Aug. 21-22, 1831, Turner led 70-plus slaves and freed blacks to kill 55 white men, women and children. One of the places that Turner and his followers attacked was the home of Rebecca Vaughan. She and her family were murdered.

Whites retaliated by killing many blacks even if they weren’t a part of the insurrection. Turner and his accomplices were captured, tried and executed.

Evelyn Hawkins of Richmond said she thought that if she were traveling down Interstate 95 and saw the sign, its purpose wouldn’t be clear.

“I think it should be a bit more descriptive,” she said.

Rick Francis of Boykins suggested Turner’s name be as large as the 1831 date on the logo.

“Part of what we’re doing today is creating an identity,” said Julie Murphy, president of Circle C Communications in Hampton. Circle C, a small women and minority-owned business that does marketing and public relations, writing and editing, will be responsible for getting 14 signs in Courtland by the end of March.

The agreement by meeting’s end was to reconfigure the logo based on the suggestions.

Murphy anticipates another review in early January.

Other aspects of the trail will ultimately include not only a driving tour and walking path, but also Standards of Learning-based episodes of 37 Southampton Insurrection Minutes. Co-produced with Hampton Roads PBS associate, WHRO-TV 15, these could be streamed into classrooms throughout the country.

Quarstein already presents 90-second segments of “Here and Then” on WHRO.