Congo Square originated during the late-18th century as a gathering place for enslaved people on their day of rest. They would sing, dance, and play African music, often incorporating traditional instruments such as drums and bells. Though enslaved Africans gathered in various places across the city, Congo Square was the most famous among them, and is often considered the birthplace of New Orleans jazz and Creole music. The city endeavored to repress these gatherings by passing restrictive laws several times throughout the 19th century. However, the space remained a cultural landmark, even after it was renamed for Confederate general P.G.T. Beauregard in 1893 (a name that was revoked by a city ordinance in 2011). Today, Congo Square is regularly studied by music historians and celebrated by music lovers from all over the world. Its role in the preservation of enslaved African culture and in the evolution of jazz music cannot be understated.
Listed below are some recommended catalog key terms for searching for Congo Square. Full steps on how to use these key terms can be found on this LibGuide's homepage.
Listed below are some recommended subject headings for searching for Congo Square. Full steps on how to use these subject headings can be found on this LibGuide's homepage.
African Americans -- Louisiana -- New Orleans -- Music -- History and criticism.
African American dance -- Louisiana -- New Orleans -- History.
Congo Square (New Orleans, La.) -- History.
New Orleans (La.) -- Social life and customs.
A few of the collections held by LSU Libraries Special Collections are listed below. Additional collections may be found utilizing the subject headings listed in the sections above.
Books and other published materials