Congo Square


Go up a couple of blocks to Jackson Street where the hulk of the old Longshoreman’s Hall stands awaiting the wrecker’s ball. In the littered and sunny courtyard that was once a dance hall you can feel that sound. This was a haven built by black workers against the uncertainties and the bleak certainties of their America, a place where for a dollar you could dance to music made by your neighbors.

Or go farther up into the old District and enter the narrow confines of the newly restored Perseverance Hall. Mount the handsome staircase that curves in company with the walls until you gain the upper story and its single high-ceilinged room. There think of Bolden and the others. Think of the nameless dancers who moved to a sound that told stories. Here in silence is that sound, history beating against the ear.