NAT TURNER: A Troublesome Property examines how the story of Turner and his revolt have been continuously re-told since 1831. Historians Eugene Genovese and Herbert Aptheker discuss how the figure of Turner became a metaphor for racial tension. Religious scholar Vincent Harding and legal scholar Martha Minow reflect on America's attitudes towards violence. Professor of psychiatry and race relations expert Dr. Alvin Poussaint and actor Ossie Davis recall how Nat Turner became a hero in the black community. And when William Styron published his 1967 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, The Confessions of Nat Turner—inventing a sexually charged relationship between Turner and a white teenaged girl he later killed—it unleashed one of the most bitter intellectual battles of the 1960s. Turner's rebellion continues to raise new questions about the nature of terrorism and other forms of violent resistance to oppression.
Film critics have called Burnett "the nation's least-known great filmmaker and most gifted black director." Burnett's debut film, Killer of Sheep, on which he served as producer, director, writer, editor, cinematographer and actor, was selected by the Library of Congress to be among the first 50 films to be included in the National Film Registry. In 1983, the Vicksburg, Mississippi native wrote, directed and produced his next feature, My Brother's Wedding, centering on the theme of envy and its power to warp families. Burnett's themes of family continued to influence his work: In 1990, he wrote and directed the drama To Sleep with Anger, which starred Danny Glover as a charming friend who insinuates himself into a troubled family. Burnett’s next film, The Glass Shield, was a police drama based on a true story of corruption and racism within the Los Angeles police force. Burnett followed with his television debut via the acclaimed 1996 Disney Channel film Nightjohn, a period piece about a slave’s risky attempt to teach an orphan slave girl to read and write. The New Yorker's film critic Terrence Rafferty called Nightjohn the "best American movie of 1996."