Revolution and Reaction: Sites of Memory and the 1811 German Coast Uprising in the Twenty-First Century



This article explores the present state of historical memory surrounding the 1811 German Coast Uprising, a revolt which historians consider to be the largest slave rebellion in American history. Despite this distinction, the Louisianan Uprising remains obscure in the collective memory of American slavery, reflecting a wider cultural and historiographical tradition which has (and continues) to romanticize the Old South and the relationship between slave holders and enslaved people. For evidence to this claim, the article analyzes expressions of collective historical memory about the Uprising in the forms of plantation sites and reenactment, both of which contribute to public understanding about the nature of slavery, either intentionally or not. Despite omission and under-contextualization at the Ormond and Destrehan Plantation, the article finds that the Whitney Plantation and the 2019 Slave Rebellion Reenactment have attempted to engage the public with the legacy of slavery and represents the reclamation of the Uprising as an example of Black resistance. The article claims that analysis of the German Coast Uprising, especially its obfuscation, represents an important area of further historical research, so as to better understand the nature of slavery and white supremacy. 

Keywords: Slavery, Southern History, Historical Memory, Plantation, Reenactment, Museum, African American History, American History

How to Cite: Ancharski, B. J. (2022) “Revolution and Reaction: Sites of Memory and the 1811 German Coast Uprising in the Twenty-First Century”, Footnotes: A Journal of History. 5(0).