The Stono Rebellion of 1739 was the largest uprising of enslaved peoples in North America, when a group of enslaved African people marched from South Carolina toward Florida. What followed was The Negro Act of 1740 that banned enslaved people from a number of activities, including assembling in groups and using drums. That didn’t stop the music. It gave rise to the use of bodies as percussive instruments, of chants as background percussion and movements that would later become stepping, a percussive dance that paved the way for modern hip-hop dances. In “Stono,” Step Afrika! harnesses these same resources to tell the story.
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