Combee Book Talk with Dr. Edda Fields-Black

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Harriet Tubman's legendary life is widely known: escaping enslavement, leading others to freedom via the Underground Railroad, and tirelessly fighting for change. But a crucial chapter often overlooked is her daring Civil War exploits, detailed in Edda L. Fields-Black's groundbreaking book. Descendant of raid participants, Fields-Black unveils Tubman's command of spies and pilots, leading a raid that liberated hundreds and shaped American history. Through unexamined documents, she brings to life the untold stories of those freed, their resilience, and the lasting impact of Tubman's heroism.


Author Bio Edda Fields-Black teaches history at Carnegie Mellon University and has written extensively about the history of West African rice farmers, 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, which was selected as a Choice Outstanding Academic Title. Fields-Black has served as a consultant for the Smithsonian National Museum of African-American History and Culture's permanent exhibit, "Rice Fields of the Lowcountry." She is the executive producer and librettist of "Unburied, Unmourned, Unmarked: Requiem for Rice," a widely performed original contemporary classical work by celebrated 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 in June 1863. Her determination to illuminate the riches of the Gullah dialect, and to reclaim Gullah Geechee history and culture, has taken her to the rice fields of South Carolina and Georgia to those of Sierra Leone and Republic of Guinea in West Africa.