With a Slave Rebellion Re-Enactment, An Artist Revives Forgotten History

By Richard Fausset
Sammi Ross, rehearsing in costume for the 1811 Slave Rebellion Re-enactment, a 26-mile march along former antebellum plantations in Louisiana. Her great-great-grandmother was part of the original slave rebellion. “My family has been taught how to survive through everything,” she said.
LaPLACE, La. — The New York artist Dread Scott was standing in a tiny traffic island in this working-class suburb west of New Orleans on a recent afternoon near the EZ Stop convenience store. He had come to point out a single sentence on a historical marker, one unheeded by the truck drivers barreling down Airline Highway: “Major 1811 slave uprising organized here.” “That’s the only marker anywhere in the United States, as far as I know,” Mr. Scott said, that mentions the largest slave rebellion in United States history. The remedy Mr. Scott is planning, for Nov. 8 and 9, is likely to be the most ambitious artwork thus far in his long career as a radical multidisciplinary artist: A large-scale re-enactment of the 1811 German Coast Uprising, in which as many as 500 enslaved people of African descent marched toward New Orleans from the surrounding sugar plantations in an inspiring, but eventually doomed, effort to win their freedom. [More]
The re-enactment is led by the New York artist Dread Scott, shown in LaPlace, La. He hopes the march will push the state, and the country, to debate how to properly memorialize and remember the history of the South.