How did knowledge of grains from West Africa shape rural lands and cities in North America? Why has it taken so long for historians to address the agricultural knowledge work of enslaved persons? Dr. Edda Fields-Black, Associate Professor of History at Carnegie Mellon University, joins us to discuss these vitally important questions. She tells us all about rice farming in the United States, including the agricultural traditions of the Gullah and Geechee peoples, including her personal connection to this history. We also talk about her new book about Harriet Tubman—and her symphony, Unburied, Unmourned, Unmarked: Requiem for Rice, which is a contemporary classical and multimedia music symphonic work and the first symphonic work about slavery. Dr. Fields-Black is the author of Deep Roots: Rice Farmers in West Africa and the African Diaspora (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2008). Check out Dr. Fields-Black’s books and beautiful symphony, and follow Fields for more conversations about the urban–rural continuum and the inescapable political dimensions of growing grains.
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