Watch: ’60 Minutes’ Piece on Nate Parker, ‘Birth of a Nation’ + Descendants Debating Nat Turner’s Legacy

Fox Searchlight

Fox Searchlight

It’s the talk of the web today, and maybe water-cooler chatter at the office too – Nate Parker’s sit-down with Anderson Cooper on “60 Minutes” which aired on CBS last night.

The conversation covered not only the film – the Oscar buzzy “The Birth of a Nation” – but also, as you’d expect, the uproar over the now widely-discussed incident in Parker’s past. There’s also an interesting supplement that features Cooper speaking with descendants from both sides (Turner’s and the family that owned Turner) about the slave rebellion, debating the question of whether he, Nat Turner, should be considered a hero?

Both videos follow at the bottom of this post.

Parker wrote, directed and also stars in the film, “The Birth of a Nation,” playing Nat Turner – a film set against the antebellum South, telling the story of Turner, a literate slave and preacher, whose financially strained owner, Samuel Turner, accepts an offer to use Nat’s preaching to subdue unruly slaves. After witnessing countless atrocities against fellow slaves, Nat devises a plan to lead his people to freedom.

Joining Parker in front of the camera are Armie Hammer, Aja Naomi King, Jackie Earle Haley, Gabrielle Union, Mark Boone Jr. and more.

Fox Searchlight will open the film (which is still on my 2017 Oscar predictions list despite the controversy surrounding it) this Friday, October 7, 2016.

Below, first watch Anderson Cooper’s “60 Minutes” interview with Nate Parker, and then watch the discussion between the descendants:


NOTE: If the videos below don’t show or play for you (there seems to be some consistency issue) CLICK HERE to watch them on CBS’ website until the problem is fixed.

14 Comments

  1. Dear Anderson Cooper: You refer to Nate Turner’s ‘A Birth Of A Nation’ as an account of “a little known slave rebellion”. This may be the case with white people; however, in the Black community, it is every well known. Your ascribing such a description of Nate Turner’s slave rebellion reflects the historical ambivalence towards the Black Experience in America, where prejudiced assumptions made about it, are not worth ‘fact-checking’!!

  2. Anderson Cooper’s casual reference to Nate Turner’s ‘A Birth Of A Nation’ as a story of “a little known slave rebellion” is another example of historical ambivalence about the Black Experience in America, where prejudiced assumptions made about it, are not worth ‘fact-checking’!! Nate Turner’s Rebellion may be “little known” among white people; however, in the Black community, it is every well known. I knew of Nate Turner since the age of 12, 4 years after Emmett Till’s lynching in 1955, and counted him as one my heroic, strong, black men!!!

  3. It’s obvious that white southerners, especially those whom owned slaves, would be unlikely to view Nat Turner in heroic terms. The entire social fabric of the South during those times, and even to this day, was built to prevent just such a thing from happening. Especially given the knowledge of slave revolts and rebellions on the part of slaves that happened in the West Indies and other places throughout the Western hemisphere. Whites living in farming communities, where there were large numbers of slaves, lived in constant fear for their lives. And the constricted lives they imposed upon their slaves was intended to suppress the urge in slaves to rebel. It is hardly surprising that the two descendants would have completely opposite viewpoints relative to Nat Turner’s place in the history of that place.

  4. Mr Parker’s non repentance disgusts me to the core. Every word he says is punctuated by the poor woman’s suicide.

    • No, he allegedly didn’t rape anybody. But his friend, the co-writer of this movie, apparently did because he served time. Moreover, the victim committed suicide, a fact about which Parker doesn’t seem too upset as evidenced by this interview. As a result, I will not support this movie while it’s in the theaters.

      • The conviction of his friend was overturned…thrown out. There’s a long history of Black men being falsely accused of rape by White women.

  5. So black men who allegedly rape someone are guilty to you. Got it. Plus he got emotional during the interview talking about her so I don’t know what you want the man to do…bleed on camera?

  6. He was wrongfully accused. The sex was habitual and consensual according to testimony of others as well as the defendants. He was acquitted arguably and remarkably by a jury of his peers. The other accused had his conviction overturned by a judge who reviewed the case. He had been wrongfully convicted and incarcerated. You cannot try either of them again, o ly slander. He nor his Co defendant is
    responsible for her suicide. In fact,
    no one can prevent a determined
    suicide. Ask her people who most
    assuredly tried their best. I will be in
    the audience opening night
    marvelling at a story that is not
    about slaves but rather about
    enslaved people who take matters
    into their own hands. My people are
    from Virginia by way of somewhere in Africa, marched out in shackles
    though the Cumberland Gap to
    Tennessee, two years before the
    Turner uprising. Apoarently, white slaveowners had become concerned well before and were breaking up familues and selling people away to avoud exactly what can never be avoided qhwn holding people enchained. Insurrection. I. Will. Be.
    In. The. Audience. On. Opening.
    Night… to honor my father, his father and all the fathers, brothers, sons enchained, wrongfully accused, wrongfully convicted, and wrongfully incarcerated. That is all.

  7. I don’t feel he should apologize for her suicide or for being wrongfully accused in a rape trial; I do want him, however, to acknowledge the situation instead of just saying “I want to focus on this film.” If he addresses it once and says this is the only time then it will no longer be an elephant in the room.

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