A group plans to commemorate the largest slave rebellion in the United States with a two-day reenactment and parade.
Playing drums, flying flags and singing songs, more than 500 people will don period costumes and march 26 miles over the course of two days from the bayous of St. John’s Parish to New Orleans’ Congo Square to commemorate the 1811 uprising of enslaved African Americans against the planter class.
Organizer Dread Scott, an artist whose work has been featured in the Whitney Museum and the Museum of Modern Art, said he was inspired to create the reenactment and reimagining of the 1811 slave rebellion in part to teach young people about an often suppressed piece of American history and to help take away the feelings of shame that the descendants of enslaved Africans can feel.
“This is not a shameful period,” Scott said. “It is a great period. They are heroes and everyone should know about their example and it should influence and inform how we think about social justice today.”
There were more than 250 examples of slave revolts in the U.S. during Slavery that involved 10 or more people, Scott said, citing well-known examples like Nat Turner’s uprising in 1831 in Virginia.
Although the 1811 revolt was later quelled and ended with the death of hundreds of enslaved Africans, Scott said that the march will put the spotlight on the resilience, resistance and endurance of the enslaved.
“It’s not a project about slavery,” Scott said. “It’s about freedom and emancipation.
The Slave Rebellion Reenactment will be held Nov. 8 and 9.