A Slave Rebellion Rises AgainHistorians in the News
tags: slavery, Louisiana, historical reenactment
The insurgents, dressed in the linen uniforms of slaves and wielding clubs and guns, swarmed the sprawling white plantation house and attacked its owner. The anger and resentment that had grown over years of oppression had boiled over into an uprising.
The rebels and slave owner were performers — actors, students, engineers and teachers who had been enlisted in the ambitious undertaking on Friday to recreate a rebellion in 1811 in which some 500 enslaved people of African descent marched from the sugar plantations along River Road to New Orleans.
The re-enactment, led by the New York artist Dread Scott, excavated the memory of an event that organizers saw as an inspiring display of courage. The uprising ultimately ended in bloodshed and settled into a chapter of history that was largely ignored for two centuries.
“Join us!” the rebels chanted as they pushed down paved roads lined, in some places, with modest crowds of onlookers and bewildered residents who peered out their windows at the spectacle.
Ty’ki Clayton, 18, tried to hop in. “The cop told me I can’t walk in it,” said Mr. Clayton, an aspiring rapper who goes by Chase That Bag. Even so, he was pleased to watch it pass. “I mess with that,” he said.
“It’s beautiful,” added Trevon August, 33, who had arrived with Mr. Clayton on an all-terrain vehicle.
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