The History Workshop Creates Combahee Ferry Raid Traveling Exhibit

Born into slavery around 1820, Harriet Tubman escaped to freedom in 1849 with the help of the Underground Railroad.  Ms. Tubman’s efforts with the Underground Railroad helping to free other enslaved people is well known, making her one of America’s most famous abolitionists. Less well known, however, is that Ms. Tubman worked for the Union Army as a scout and spy during the Civil War. A new traveling exhibit produced by the History Workshop highlights the fascinating story of Harriet Tubman and the Combahee River Raid, one of the largest emancipation events in American history. During the raid, which took place in 1863, the Union Army attacked rice plantations along the Combahee River in South Carolina, before departing with 700 slaves aboard their gunboats.

Beautifully illustrated and concisely written, the large exhibit panel views the raid on Combahee River from multiple angles, from the thoughts of a wealthy rice plantation owner’s son, to the history of the Combahee River as an important transportation node. The exhibit effectively explains Harriet Tubman’s critical role in spreading word of the raid to slaves working on Combahee River plantations, and then leading the gunboats on the momentous night in June, 1863.

The 10 x 8 foot exhibit panel is double-sided, free-standing, and meant to travel. The exhibit project was funded by the South Carolina Department of Transportation, and is available for loan.  If you would like to request the exhibit for your school, library, or museum, please contact Chad C. Long, SCDOT, at, or (803)-737-1396.

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