In the face of extreme punishment for enslaved people and breaking the law for whites, roughly 5 percent of the enslaved population learned to read and write. Letters like the ones written below show the lengths they would go to learn.
Why do we dance? African-American social dances started as a way for enslaved Africans to keep cultural traditions alive and retain a sense of inner freedom. They remain an affirmation of identity and independence. In this electric demonstration, packed with live performances, choreographer, educator and TED Fellow Camille A. Brown explores what happens when communities let loose and express themselves by dancing together.