Why Maroon?

Oftentimes when we think about the enslaved running to freedom, we envision the thousands of people in the United States who fled North. But in its earliest form, the peculiar institution of slavery was universally practiced throughout the Americas.



For hundreds of years refugees fled the horrors of slavery and retreated into swamps, jungles and forests in search of a place where they could simply exist in peace. The National Park Service defines Maroons as formerly enslaved refugees “who succeeded in establishing a society of their own.” Without planning or the ability to communicate, these communities sprung up all over the world. Maroons existed in the United States, Mexico, South America and Africa.

Wherever there was bondage in the world, there were Maroons.

Despite living during one of the darkest times in history, Maroons came together in the center of it all. They didn’t just survive, they thrived and created. They partnered with indigenous tribes and free people of color. Maroons from various backgrounds came together and shared food, ritual, tradition, performance and art. They exchanged cultural practices and, in doing so, created new culture. They were able to be independent, to be free, because of their strong sense of community.

Maroon Arts and Culture is dedicated to operating in the spirit of the communities after which it is named. Our goal is to create both physical and virtual safe spaces where marginalized voices, artists and individuals, are free to express themselves, to tell their origin stories and share their visions of the future.

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