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March 28 @ 8:00 pm - 9:00 pm

An Evening with Dr. Edda Fields-Black Presented by Dorothy Jenkins-Fields, Dr. Edmund Abaka, Dr. Tameka Hobbs, and Béatrice Colastin Skokan

Organizer

Books & Books

Details

Date:
March 28
Time:
8:00 pm - 9:00 pm

Venue

Books & Books in Coral Gables
265 Aragon Ave
Coral Gables, FL 33134
+ Google Map

Phone:
305.442.4408

Books & Books presents…

AN EVENING WITH DR. EDDA FIELDS-BLACK

introduced by

Dorothy Jenkins-Fields

featuring a Panel including:

Dr. Edmund Abaka, Moderator; University of Miami, Center for Global Black Studies

Dr. Temeka Hobbs, Library Regional Manager, Broward County’s African American Research Library

Beatrice Colastin Skokan, University of Miami, Head of Manuscripts and Archives

Presented by

Dr. Dorothy Jenkins Fields, Founder, The Black Archives Historic Lyric Theater

discussing

Combee: Harriet Tubman, the Combahee River Raid, and Black Freedom During the Civil War

(Oxford University Press $39.99)

Thursday, March 28th, 8PM-9PM. Followed by a book signing | Books & Books, Coral Gables

RSVP HERE FOR FREE

Books & Books is proud to present an evening with Edda Fields-Black discussing her new book, Combee: Harriet Tubman, the Combahee River Raid, and Black Freedom During the Civil War (Oxford University Press $39.99). The event will be presented by Dorothy Jenkins-Fields, featuring Moderator Dr. Edmund Abaka, Dr. Tameka Hobbs, and Béatrice Colastin Skokan.

This event is FREE and open to the public and books will be available for purchase the night of the event! Please RSVP only if you intend to join us.


About the Book:

The story of the Combahee River Raid, one of Harriet Tubman’s most extraordinary accomplishments, based on original documents and written by a descendant of one of the participants.Most Americans know of Harriet Tubman’s legendary life: escaping enslavement in 1849, she led more than 60 others out of bondage via the Underground Railroad, gave instructions on getting to freedom to scores more, and went on to live a lifetime fighting for change. Yet the many biographies, children’s books, and films about Tubman omit a crucial chapter: during the Civil War, hired by the Union Army, she ventured into the heart of slave territory–Beaufort, South Carolina–to live, work, and gather intelligence for a daring raid up the Combahee River to attack the major plantations of Rice Country, the breadbasket of the Confederacy.

Edda L. Fields-Black–herself a descendent of one of the participants in the raid–shows how Tubman commanded a ring of spies, scouts, and pilots and participated in military expeditions behind Confederate lines. On June 2, 1863, Tubman and her crew piloted two regiments of Black US Army soldiers, the Second South Carolina Volunteers, and their white commanders up coastal South Carolina’s Combahee River in three gunboats. In a matter of hours, they torched eight rice plantations and liberated 730 people, people whose Lowcountry Creole language and culture Tubman could not even understand. Black men who had liberated themselves from bondage on South Carolina’s Sea Island cotton plantations after the Battle of Port Royal in November 1861 enlisted in the Second South Carolina Volunteers and risked their lives in the effort.

Using previous unexamined documents, including Tubman’s US Civil War Pension File, bills of sale, wills, marriage settlements, and estate papers from planters’ families, Fields-Black brings to life intergenerational, extended enslaved families, neighbors, praise-house members, and sweethearts forced to work in South Carolina’s deadly tidal rice swamps, sold, and separated during the antebellum period. When Tubman and the gunboats arrived and blew their steam whistles, many of those people clambered aboard, sailed to freedom, and were eventually reunited with their families. The able-bodied Black men freed in the Combahee River Raid enlisted in the Second South Carolina Volunteers and fought behind Confederate lines for the freedom of others still enslaved not just in South Carolina but Georgia and Florida.

After the war, many returned to the same rice plantations from which they had escaped, purchased land, married, and buried each other. These formerly enslaved peoples on the Sea Island indigo and cotton plantations, together with those in the semi-urban port cities of Charleston, Beaufort, and Savannah, and on rice plantations in the coastal plains, created the distinctly American Gullah Geechee dialect, culture, and identity–perhaps the most significant legacy of Harriet Tubman’s Combahee River Raid.

BUY THE BOOK HERE


About the Author:

Dr. Edda L. Fields-Black teaches history at Carnegie Mellon University and has written extensively about the history of West African rice farmers and technology, including in such works as Deep Roots: Rice Farmers in West Africa and the African Diaspora. She was a co-editor of Rice: Global Networks and New Histories. Fields-Black has served as a consultant for the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture’s “Rice Fields of the Lowcountry” and the International African American Museum’s “Carolina Gold” permanent exhibits. She is the executive producer and librettist of “Unburied, Unmourned, Unmarked: Requiem for Rice,” a widely performed original contemporary classical work by three-time EMMY™ Award-winning composer John Wineglass. Fields-Black is a descendent of Africans enslaved on rice plantations in Colleton County, South Carolina; her great-great-great grandfather fought in the Combahee River Raid. Her latest book, COMBEE: Harriet Tubman, the Combahee River Raid, and Black Freedom during the Civil War, was published in February 2024 by Oxford University Press

About the Presenter and Panelists

A lyric voice for the black history of South Florida, Dorothy Jenkins Fields has devoted her life to preserving the heritage of the African-American community and raising awareness of African-American history to a national level. A Miami native, she is responsible for the establishment of Miami’s Black Archives, the designation and restoration of the landmark Lyric Theater and other historic sites, the creation of the Black Heritage Trail, and the designation of the Historic Overtown Folklife Village as a National Trust “Main Street” community. Fields was awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Humanities for her unprecedented research and documentation of African-American history.

A graduate of the University of Cape Coast in Ghana, Dr. Abaka earned his Ph.D. in African History from York University and his Master of Arts in European History from the University of Guelph in Canada. He teaches African and African Diaspora History courses at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Dr. Abaka is a documentary-style photographer whose work has been exhibited in museums and libraries in South Florida. He has published several articles and book chapters on kola (one of the original ingredients for Coca-Cola), African Youth in South Africa and Libya, Portuguese Africa, “Red Gold” (dealing with Asante and the Kola Trade), The Hausa Diaspora in Ghana, Badagry as a Site of Historical Memory, East, and North Africa and the Second World War. He spent 2016-2018 as a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Cape Coast, Ghana. He is presently the editor of Abibisem: A Journal of African Culture and Civilization.

Tameka Bradley Hobbs is the Library Regional Manager of Broward Public Library’s African American Research Library and Cultural Center in Fort Lauderdale. She has also worked as a researcher, writer, consultant, and director for several public and oral history projects. Her book, Democracy Abroad, Lynching at Home: Racial Violence in Florida, was published by the University Press of Florida and has been awarded bronze medal for the 2015 Florida Book Award for Florida Nonfiction, and the 2016 Harry T. and Harriette V. Moore Award from the Florida Historical Society. She has appeared in several award-winning documentaries including Liberty Burning, You Belong to Me: Sex, Race, and Murder in the South, Crossing Overtown, and George Stephanopoulos’s Grand Knighthawk: Infiltrating the KKK.

Béatrice Colastin Skokan serves as the Head of Manuscripts and Archives Management at the University of Miami Libraries. She is responsible for the management and assessment of manuscripts and archival processing for collections in all formats across the distinctive collections within the UM Libraries. As Curator of Caribbean Collections, she leads the coordination of collection development, exhibits, research, and outreach pertaining to the UM Libraries Caribbean collections. Her outreach activities include instruction in the use of Distinctive Collections primary source materials as well as the organizations of in house and online exhibits. Ms. Skokan received her MLIS from Florida State University and studied at the N.A.R.A. Modern Archives Institute while pursuing her graduate degree. She also holds an M.A. in International Studies and M.A. in French Literature from the University of Miami as well as a Bachelor of Business Administration from St. Thomas University.