Why have slave rebellions been left out of US history?

“On to New Orleans! Freedom or death!”

That was the rallying cry of hundreds of enslaved people in Louisiana more than 200 years ago, during the largest slave revolt in US history.

A reenactment of the 1811 German Coast Uprising brought the past to life this week, as participants retraced a two-day, 26-mile march to New Orleans.

The event was the brainchild of performance artist Dread Scott. Largely overlooked in history books, protesters were brave souls who should be seen as a source of inspiration and dignity for those fighting against modern-day oppression, Scott said.

Ultimately, the rebels did not succeed in abolishing slavery during their time. But rather than end with violence, the reenactment closed with an alternate, more uplifting ending – the defeat of white militia men and a cultural celebration.

In this episode we ask, why have slave rebellions been left out of American history? Join the conversation: 

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