Slave Rebellion Reenactment is a conceptual community-engaged performance that will restage and reinterpret Louisiana’s German Coast Uprising of 1811. This was the largest rebellion of enslaved people in North American history and took place outside of New Orleans. SRR will animate a suppressed history of people with an audacious plan to organize, take up arms and seize Orleans Territory, to fight not just for their own emancipation, but to end slavery. It is a project about freedom.
The artwork will involve hundreds of re-enactors in period specific clothing marching for two days covering 26 miles. It will be reenacted upriver from New Orleans in the locations where the 1811 revolt occurred—the the chemical refineries, box stores, suburbs, and trailer parks that have replaced the sugar plantations forming its backdrop.
It will be an impressive and startling sight—500+ Black people, many on horses, armed with cane knives and muskets, flags flying, some in militia uniforms, others in 19th century French colonial garments, singing in Creole to African drumming. There was limited fighting during the 1811 rebellion, so, in contrast to many war reenactments, much of SRR will be a procession.
Of necessity, slave rebellions were clandestinely organized by small groups of individuals. Mirroring this structure, an integral part of the artwork will be “recruitment” / organizing meetings of multiple small groupings of participants to plan the reenactment. Videos of the meetings will be part of the artwork’s archive.
The project was conceived and initiated by Dread Scott.
A more detailed description is available for download here.