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Jun 02
Sunday 4-5:30 pm

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Book Talk with Dr. Edda L. Fields-Black

Date: June 2
Time: 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm

Cost: Free

Location: Middleton Place

Distinguished Speaker Series: Dr. Edda L. Fields-Black

COMBEE: Harriet Tubman, the Combahee River Raid, and Black Freedom during the Civil War

Sunday, June 2, 2024, 4-5:30 PM
Middleton Place Pavilion

In her book, Dr. Fields-Black dives into the story of the Combahee River Raid, one of Harriet Tubman’s most extraordinary accomplishments, based on original documents written by a descendant of one of the participants. This talk is free; however, advanced registration is required.

About the book:
Many biographies, children’s books, and films about Harriet 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.

In Combee, Edda L. Fields-Black–herself a descendant 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 led two regiments of Black US Army soldiers – the Second South Carolina Volunteers – alone with 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 barely understand. The Second South Carolina Volunteers included a core group of 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. In recounting this history, Fields-Black also 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.
These formerly enslaved peoples of the Sea Island indigo and cotton plantations come together with the semi-urban port cities of Charleston, Beaufort, and Savannah, and the rice plantations of the coastal plains, creating the distinctly American Gullah Geechee dialect, culture, and identity–perhaps the most significant legacy of Harriet Tubman’s Combahee River Raid.


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Book Talk with Dr. Edda L. Fields-Black
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