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Freedom or Death! A Slave Rebellion and the Power of Storytelling

On November 8 and 9, 2019, hundreds of re-enactors retraced the path of the largest rebellion of enslaved people in United States history, embodying a story of resistance and revolutionary action. Supported by dozens of foundations including the Surdna Foundation, Slave Rebellion Reenactment (SRR) is a community engaged performance spanning 24 miles over two days, through the River Parishes just outside New Orleans and culminating in the city.

Called “daring” by The New York Times for its scale and its production, SRR reinterpreted Charles Deslondes’ German Coast Uprising of 1811, reclaiming a suppressed history of people with an audacious plan to organize and seize Orleans Territory to fight not just for their own freedom, but to end slavery. While the original rebellion never made it to New Orleans, telling this story can shift narratives that have distorted the truth for centuries.

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