Smyrna to feature Harriet Tubman scholar at Juneteenth celebration dinner

Smyrna will host a celebratory dinner for the Juneteenth holiday with an acclaimed scholar who studies the historic lives of women of African descent as the featured guest.

Erica Armstrong Dunbar, author of “She Came to Slay: The Life and Times of Harriet Tubman,” will discuss and sign copies of her book during the event which begins at 5:30 p.m. on June 17 at Smyrna Community Center, 200 Village Green Circle, in downtown Smyrna.

Tickets for the event are $15. Proceeds will benefit the foundations for Campbell and Griffin Middle Schools, a city statement said.

Dunbar is the Charles and Mary Beard Professor of History at Rutgers University and national director of the Association of Black Women Historians. She was a 2017 finalist for the National Book Award in nonfiction, and winner of the 2018 Frederick Douglass Book Prize for her book, “Never Caught: The Washingtons’ Relentless Pursuit of Their Runaway Slave, Ona Judge.”

During a 2020 interview at Politics and Prose Bookstore in Washington D.C. on her latest book, Dunbar said that she asks her students to think of Tubman, who led hundreds of enslaved people to freedom through the Underground Railroad, as a leader who devoted and sacrificed her entire life for social justice.

Dunbar writes on Tubman becoming the first woman to lead an armed expedition during the Civil War; her work as a spy for the Union Army and as a suffragist, as well as her advocacy for the aged.

Dunbar has been a consultant on such projects as the HBOMax drama series “The Gilded Age,” a Smyrna statement said.

For more information visit community events on Smyrna’s website.