For more than a century, Civil War reenactments have played out, but this November 8 and November 9, the nation’s largest rebellion of enslaved people, the German Coast Uprising of 1811 in Louisiana, will also be reenacted.
The two-day Slave Rebellion Reenactment (SRR), organized by artist-activist Dread Scott and filmed by John Akomfrah, is a community-engaged performance and film production that will include hundreds of reenactors dressed in period costumes who “will animate a suppressed history of people with an audacious plan to organize and seize Orleans Territory, to fight not just for their own emancipation, but to end slavery,” according to the event’s website. The rebellion was inspired by the Haitian revolution, but conceived by people born in Louisiana and Africa, and its goal was to march to New Orleans and establish a free republic, Ibrahima Seck, director of research at the Whitney Plantation and a historical advisor to the reenactment, told the Associated Press.
“Seeing hundreds of Black folk with machetes and muskets and sickles and sabers, flags flying, chanting to traditional African drumming, is going be an amazing moment,” Scott said. “You can’t actually understand American society if you don’t understand slavery, and you can’t understand slavery if you don’t understand slave revolts.”
Beyond showing an often neglected aspect of American history, the organizers see other benefits in the event. “With this project, it’s highlighting the tenacity and the resilience that the people who were enslaved had to want to break free, to want to create their own republic,” said reenactor Julie Joseph. “I think that’s something that’s been really encouraging to me and something that’ll be really encouraging to a lot of other Black people, to know that I come from fighters.”
To keep up with the two-day march, follow Slave Rebellion Re-enactment on social.
To learn more about the project and its players, watch the video below, courtesy of the AP: