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Resources & History

The story of the 1811 revolt and slave rebellions generally, are powerful stories of liberation with many lessons for the present. If you want to engage that history more fully this page includes a selection of resources Dread Scott and the SRR team have been drawing on in the process of creating this performance.

The Rebellion ‘Un-Bibliography’

Assistant Producer Shana griffin has compiled an extensive ‘un-bibliography’ of texts, films, museums, and community resources which are especially recommended for reading groups or classroom syllabi.

Dread’s Inspiration

Artist Dread Scott was inspired by these works while researching this project:

On to New Orleans by Albert Thrasher

This is the book that presents the first substantial research of the 1811 revolt—years before anyone else. It is published by Leon A. Waters and is available online at hiddenhistory.us/store/books and in New Orleans at the Community Book Center

Soul by Soul: Life Inside the Antebellum Slave Market by Walter Johnson

Soul by Soul: Life Inside the Antebellum Slave Market

by Walter Johnson, 2001

An important exploration of a slave market, both as a physical location where slaves are sold, but also market, as in stock market.

The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism

Edward E. Baptist

A groundbreaking, must-read history demonstrating that America’s economic supremacy was built on the backs of slaves.

Nat Turner - Wikimedia Commons

The Confessions of Nat Turner

As told to Thomas R. Gray, 1831

The Confessions of Nat Turner — As told to Thomas R. Gray. Not to be confused with the novel by William Styron. Available as free download here.

Image: Wikimedia Commons

Avengers of the New World: The Story of the Haitian Revolution

by Laurent Dubois

Laurent Dubois weaves the stories of slaves, free people of African descent, wealthy whites, and French administrators into an unforgettable tale of insurrection, war, heroism, and victory. He establishes the Haitian Revolution as a foundational moment in the history of democracy and human rights.

American Negro Slave Revolts , Herbert Aptheker

American Negro Slave Revolts

Herbert Aptheker, 1943

The substantive first recounting of slave revolts in the US. Written with the assumption that the slave revolts are just and fighting for emancipation. A digital archive of the 1963 edition is available here.

Slavery by Another Name: The Reenslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to WWII

Douglas Blackmon

More on the legacy of slavery, an account of the “Age of Neoslavery,” the American period following the Emancipation Proclamation in which convicts, mostly black men, were “leased” through forced labor camps operated by state and federal governments.

Fire on the Mountain by Terry Bisson

Fire on the Mountain

Terry Bisson

A cool sci-fi “what if” set in the future if John Brown and Harriet Tubman launched a successful war to end slavery.

Congo Square by Freddi Williams Evans

Congo Square: African Roots in New Orleans

by Freddi Williams Evans

Beginning in the eighteenth century, enslaved Africans and free people of color gathered in Congo Square on Sunday afternoons discontinuously for well over one hundred years. This book presents accounts and descriptions of the songs, dances, musical instruments, religious beliefs, and marketing traditions that typified those gatherings.

Artistic Inspiration

Dread has also been looking at how visual artists have approached slave and peasant uprising. In particular:
– Hale Woodruff (Amistad murals)
– Kathe Kollwitz (Peasant War series)
– Jacob Lawrence (Toussaint Louverture)

Jacob Lawrence - Davidson Galleries
Toussaint Louverture by Jacob Lawrence. Image: Davidson Galleries

Slave Revolt in Jamaica 1760-1761

Interactive Map by Vincent Brown

In this interactive web project, Vincent Brown presents an animated thematic map that narrates the spatial history of the greatest slave insurrection in the eighteenth century British Empire. It gives a complex view of the dynamics and fighting strategy of revolts.

Slave Revolt Jamaica - Vincent Brown

Burn (Queimada) 1969 Italian & French film directed by Gillo Pontecorvo and starring Marlon Brando and Evaristo Márquez. The fictional story focuses on the infighting between British and Portuguese colonial powers to occupy an island in the Caribbean. Brando plays a British secret government agent, who manipulates a slave revolt to serve the interests of the British sugar trade. The rebel slaves are the real heroes of the film.