This Was A Crucial Gathering Space For Our Enslaved Ancestors

Via Flickr

September 9, 2019

“It might be superstition, but some kind of somethin’ goin' on down there/ It's an old time tradition when they play their drums at night in Congo Square.”

Congo Square IS the “Birthplace of American Music” - but it also has a long history as a crucial gathering place for our enslaved ancestors.

In the late 1700s, Africans in the New Orleans area were only allowed to have Sundays off from their plantation toil. 

In Congo Square, on the outskirts of town, they’d gather to play music, sell food and goods, and socialize. For one day of the week, they could be human beings instead of just chattel.

They’d practice their cultural traditions like language, dance, music, and religion, and with the influence of Haitians, Cubans, and Caribbean people, a new culture formed. 

Jazz and Blues were borne out of this mixture, and quickly spread throughout the Americas.

Congo Square became the heart of Black culture in New Orleans, and its influence was felt around the country - and still is today!

New Orleans is an incredible place to visit, if only for the deep history present there. Music and cultural activities, as well as activism, still happen in Congo Square to this day - if you have a chance to visit New Orleans, don’t miss it!

We have a quick favor to ask:

PushBlack is a nonprofit dedicated to raising up Black voices. We are a small team but we have an outsized impact:

  • We reach tens of millions of people with our BLACK NEWS & HISTORY STORIES every year.
  • We fight for CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM to protect our community.
  • We run VOTING CAMPAIGNS that reach over 10 million African-Americans across the country.

And as a nonprofit, we rely on small donations from subscribers like you.

With as little as $5 a month, you can help PushBlack raise up Black voices. It only takes a minute, so will you please ?

Share This Article: