From the Kingdom of Kongo to Congo Square

From the Kingdom of Kongo to Congo Square

Jeroen Dewulf | German Studies | University of Louisiana at Lafayette Press, 2018

From the Kingdom of Kongo to Congo Square: Kongo Dances and the Origins of the Mardi Gras Indians  is a very intricate study that challenges the ways we should think about the interactions between European and African societies. The author does not skirt the horrific elements of these interactions. Rather, they make up one aspect of a large tapestry tracing the movement of performance tradition from the Kingdom of Kongo throughout the Diaspora.”–Matthew Teutsch in Black Perspectives.  This book presents a provocatively new interpretation of one of New Orleans’s most enigmatic traditions—the Mardi Gras Indians. By interpreting the tradition in an Atlantic context, Dewulf traces the “black Indians” back to the ancient Kingdom of Kongo and its war dance known as sangamento. Enslaved Kongolese brought the rhythm, dancing moves, and feathered headwear of sangamentos to the Americas in performances that came to be known as “Kongo dances.”