A Negroes Dance in the Island of St Dominica, 1773-1779

The Plantocracy frequently tried to suppress all vestiges of African culture, fearing that it could lead to a newly forged common identity among the enslaved – and therefore form a rallying point for resistance or rebellion. Drums, for example, were prohibited in many plantation colonies as it was thought they might be used for covert communications. On the other hand, dancing was permitted as the plantation owners failed to recognise any ritual element in it. Despite the prohibitions the enslaved forged a new identity utilising traditions from a wide range of sources.

© Museum of London

Accession reference: Museum of London, 2006.44/9