September 9 8:00 pm

Step Afrika! is excited to announce the virtual world premiere of Stono on Wednesday, September 9, 2020 – the 281st anniversary of the Stono Rebellion. This event will be streamed on facebook and youtube on Wednesday September 9, 2020 at 8pm/et.


On September 9, 1739, the largest insurrection of enslaved Africans in North America began in South Carolina on the banks of the Stono River. Twenty Africans marched south toward a promised freedom in Spanish Florida, waving flags, beating drums, and shouting ‘Liberty.” This extraordinary act of rebellion in colonial America predates the famed Boston Tea Party of 1773, the first significant act of defiance to British rule over American colonists. Although the Stono Rebellion was suppressed, this little-known event in American history forever changed African American life and culture.


When Africans lost the right to use their drums through The Negro Act of 1740, they began to use their bodies as percussive instruments in response. This act of survival and activism earned them the name of “Drumfolk,” coined by famed folklorist Bessie Jones. Their percussive movement gave rise to some of the country’s most distinctive art forms, including the ring shout, tap, hambone, and stepping.

Stono will honor the spirit of resistance and activism that remains a critical part of American freedom. The virtual premiere will be immediately followed by a live panel discussion hosted by C. Brian Williams (Founder and Executive Director, Step Afrika!) and special guests from across the country. Panelists will explore the Stono Rebellion and its relevance to issues regarding political protest and structural inequities that dominate American conversations today. Join us!


Lead Commissioning Support for Stono is provided by Hancher Auditorium at the University of Iowa.

Additional support is provided by Events DC and the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities.

Calendar for Step Afrika! Virtual Premiere: Stono

  • 8:00pm
    Online Event