From “Black Collectivities: A Conference,” held May 3–4, 2013, at Northwestern University’s Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, and the University of Chicago’s Arts Incubator. Bookended theoretically between a reassessment of the black radical tradition and a critique of mainstream performance art history, this article starts in Harlem before taking the reader on a sweeping journey that calls at Chicago and Houston and ends in New Orleans. A cursory introduction to African diasporic public ceremonial culture, the article looks to carnival and second-line parades, military marches and marching bands, funeral processions and civil rights movement demonstrations for historical antecedents and to Lorraine O’Grady and Shani Peters (three decades apart from each other), Cauleen Smith, Daniel Bernard Roumain, Sol Sax, and Rashaad Newsome for examples of the reemergence of these forms into contemporary artistic practices with inspiration in Caribbean and African American public performance tradition.

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