Date & Time
Wednesday, Sep. 25, 2024
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Location Heinz History Center 1212 Smallman Street
Pittsburgh PA, 15222
Ticketing $50 Non-Members
$20 Members
$10 Students with valid ID
$10 Online

Join the African American Program for the Third Annual Martin R. Delany Symposium: Women During the Era of Delany.

The symposium will offer presentations and panels that address women’s writings and political work during the era of Martin R. Delany, one the nation’s most influential African American leaders in the 19th century. Dr. Edda L. Fields-Black, Carnegie Mellon University historian, will deliver the keynote address on her popular book, “COMBEE: Harriet Tubman, the Combahee River Raid, and Black Freedom during the Civil War.”

Mary N. Elliott, museum specialist at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, and noted Delany scholars, Tundi Adeleke, Robert S. Levine, and John Mckivigan will also lead scholarly discussions on the Symposium theme.

The program will include an evening reception following the Symposium academic program.

About Martin R. Delany

Born in Charles Town, Va. to a free mother, Pati, and enslaved father, Samuel, Delany lived under racial oppression but accomplished much in the years before and after the Civil War. Pittsburgh was where his education in abolitionism, enterprise, medicine, and journalism set him apart from other abolitionists, especially in the region.

In 1843, Delany became publisher of the first African American newspaper west of the Allegheny Mountains, The Mystery. In the 1850s, he enrolled in Harvard Medical School and assumed the leadership of the National Emigration Convention, a decade before President Lincoln would commission him a Major of the 104th United States Colored Infantry in 1865, making him the highest ranking African American field officer in the U.S. Army.

About the Speaker

Dr. Edda Fields-Black is the Director of The Humanities Center at Carnegie Mellon University. She is a specialist in the transnational history of West African rice farmers, peasant farmers in pre-colonial Upper Guinea Coast and enslaved laborers on rice plantations in the South Carolina and Georgia Lowcountry during the antebellum period.

This year, Fields-Black published “COMBEE: Harriet Tubman, the Combahee River Raid and Black Freedom during the Civil War” (Oxford University Press, February 2024), which offers the fullest account to date of Tubman’s Civil War service, one of the most dramatic episodes of the Civil War and the largest slave rebellion in U.S. history: the U.S. Army’s June 1863 raid on seven rice plantations along the Combahee River in the South Carolina Lowcountry. The Wall Street Journal and The New Yorker, among other national publications, have reviewed “COMBEE.” In February, Fields-Black published an op-ed in the New York Times about how, on a smaller scale, the interdisciplinary research methods she developed and new sources she employed in “COMBEE” can be used by millions of African Americans to identify their enslaved ancestors.


Admission to the symposium costs $50 for non-members, $20 for History Center members, $10 for college students with valid ID, and $10 to attend virtually. The program will be held in the museum’s fifth floor Mueller Center.

Program admission includes full access to History Center exhibitions and the evening reception.

For more information please contact, Samuel W Black, Director of the African American Program, at

The Third Annual Martin R. Delany Symposium is supported by Highmark and Allegheny Health Network.