On January 8, 1811, about 30 miles west of New Orleans, a massive group of between 200 and 500 enslaved people armed themselves with guns and agricultural tools in an attempt to fight for their freedom.
Unfortunately the largest U.S. attempted revolt has not gotten its fair share of attention outside some people in Louisiana and historians of slave rebellion and slavery.
I was pleasantly surprised to see that Destrehan Plantation, located southwest of New Orleans has joined with Tulane University to bring greater attention to this revolt. Destrehan is the location where between January 13 and 15, 1811, a tribunal met and sentenced to death or sent to greater trial in New Orleans some 45 men, including the mixed-race leader Charles Deslondes and two recent African arrivals, Kook and Quamaan.
While I know I personally will not be able to get to Louisiana this year, perhaps you will at least note the Calendar of Events which commemorate the event.
I read in a magazine that the staff at Destrehan also had some new interpretive training which would be nice. Unfortunately, the website for the plantation reflects the typical look of historic plantation websites. “The Legacy” is merely a recounting of who owned the property. It is indeed a missed opportunity to connect directly to this slave revolt in combination with the larger Atlantic World slave revolts of the late 18th and early 19th centuries (Haiti, Gabriel, and Nat Turner). There is no mention of slavery as an institution or of the enslaved people who impacted this estate on the website.
I hope that with new training provided that the website will receive an overhaul too so we all can learn more about this place.
You and I can learn more about the 1811 Slave Revolt through the 2011 publication of Daniel Rasmussen’s American Uprising: The Untold Story of America’s Largest Slave Revolt. I’ll add this to the ever growing list of books I need to read and hope you will too!