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Organizing Rebellion: Dread Scott and Walter Johnson

Is rebellion a norm, or is it exceptional? In this episode of Radio Resistance, artist Dread Scott and scholar Walter Johnson discuss the community-engaged performance Slave Rebellion Reenactment and the inspiring true story of the largest uprising of enslaved people in US history, in 1811. Scott and Walker discuss the power of culture to unify and catalyze people, as well as the proposition that the most radical views of freedom in early American history were held in the minds of enslaved people.

Dread Scott is an artist who makes revolutionary art to propel history forward. In 1989, Scott became part of a landmark Supreme Court case when he and others defied a new law by burning flags on the steps of the US Capitol. Photographs and flags from his community-engaged performance Slave Rebellion Reenactment are included as part of the exhibition Stories of Resistance.

Walter Johnson is Winthrop Professor of History and Professor of African and African American Studies at Harvard University and author of The Broken Heart of America: St. Louis and the Violent History of the United States. He is a founding member of the Commonwealth Project, which brings together academics, artists, and activists in an effort to imagine, foster, and support revolutionary social change, beginning in St. Louis.

Radio Resistance assembles the voices of intersecting local and global agents of change. Artists featured in the exhibition are paired with figures from the past, present, and future of St. Louis, coming together to transmit messages of dissent. A selection from their discussion can be found on St. Louis on the Air, the noontime talk program hosted by Sarah Fenske on St. Louis Public Radio, with the full episode also available in a listening station at CAM, and on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Stitcher.

Radio Resistance is co-produced by Michelle Dezember, Director of Learning  and Engagement, Wassan Al-Khudhairi, Chief Curator, and Misa Jeffereis, Assistant Curator. Sound design and editing by Sean Pierce.

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