Enslaved African Revolt Reenacted in New Orleans
December 3, 2019
The lie that enslaved Africans did not fight back, that they offered little resistance to their subjugation, has been widely perpetrated. But last month, sometimes in broad daylight, and at other times under the cover of night, historic truth was reenacted. Over the course of two days, an informed and animated cohort of actors marched, relived, and enlivened the story of the New Orleans 1811 German Coast Uprising.
On November 8-9 the Slave Rebellion Reenactment, a large-cast community performance, re-imagined the uprising and was documented by filmmaker John Akomfrah. Hundreds of actors, dressed like enslaved Africans, were accompanied by African drumming as they sang in Creole and English. Others, in French colonial dress, rode on horses. They all traveled the historic 26-mile route that the rebellion took. As the march passed the oil refineries, strip malls and residential areas that have long replaced sugar plantations, many spectators were astonished by the sight of something they had never considered.
Conceived and produced by Brooklyn artist Dread Scott, the Slave Rebellion Reenactment was a powerful reminder of historic unity and agency. Read the full story that includes several video clips of the event. Be reminded of less known, yet important history.