About the project

Slave Rebellion Reenactment will restage and reinterpret Louisiana’s German Coast Uprising of 1811. This uprising was the largest rebellion of enslaved people in America. The reenactment will animate a hidden history of people with a bold plan to take up arms to fight for their emancipation by seizing New Orleans and ending slavery. It will involve hundreds of reenactors, period specific clothing, horses and armaments. It will be reenacted in Spring 2016 on the outskirts of New Orleans where the 1811 revolt happened.

A key element of slave revolts was the organising of the uprising by groups of trusted individuals clandestinely plotting. Mirroring this, Slave Rebellion Reenactment will start with small organising meetings. Slave rebels reenactors ‘recruited’ this way will be given material about the rebellion and asked to take the history to others, themselves taking up the roll of recruiter and articulating their own reasons why this history and reenactment is important. The project will transition from my vision and become the vision of hundreds of collaborators.

Reenactors will be drawn from Xavier University, a Historically Black University, and other local communities that are invested in this history. My initial meetings with students have resulted in the recruitment of some to be reenactors. Wendell Pierce (actor, The Wire) is also a participant.

In America, most social statistics reflect a legacy of slavery. Rather than feeling shame of this history or even just the horror of it, SRR will enable descendants of enslaved people to deeply internalise that their ancestors resisted enslavement. It will provide new ways for participants and viewers to think of the past and its relation to our moment, and will lead to new pathways for people to conceive freedom and the means to achieve it.

About the artist

Dread Scott makes revolutionary art to propel history forward. In 1989, the entire US Senate denounced and outlawed his artwork and President Bush declared it “disgraceful” because of its use of the American flag. His work is exhibited internationally including in the Whitney Museum, MoMA/PS1, Pori Art Museum, BAM and galleries and street corners across the country. He is a recipient of a Creative Capital Grant and funding from Franklin Furnace enabled him to burn money on Wall Street.