Central Jersey Alumnae Hosts RED Carpet Event – “HARRIET”
Submitted by Raquel Horn
On Sunday, Oct. 20, 2019, the Arts & Letters Committee of the
Central Jersey Alumnae Chapter (“CJA”) of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
hosted a Red Carpet Event at the Reading Cinemas located in Manville, NJ. The
theater was filled to capacity as approximately 200 members and guests gathered
for a private screening of “Harriet,” in advance of the much-anticipated
nationwide release date of Nov. 1. This movie tells the story of abolitionist
Harriet Tubman, beginning with her escape from slavery to the numerous missions
she led through the Underground Railroad to free a multitude of slaves.
The post-movie discussion was as engaging as the movie and was
facilitated by award-winning historian, Rutgers professor, and 2017 National
Book Award finalist Erica Armstrong Dunbar. Dunbar is author of the book She
Came to Slay: The Life and Times of Harriet Tubman. The book was made
available pre-release and signed by Dunbar at the conclusion of the event.
Among other accomplishments, she is the National Director of the Association of
Black Women Historians (ABWH), an organization dedicated to continuing the
advancement for the study of black women’s history. The committee awarded door
prizes provided directly from the producers, Martin Chase Productions, to those
who contributed to the discussion.
Attendees were amazed that there was so much about Harriet Tubman
they didn’t know and disappointed in how little is taught about her in schools.
One middle-schooler commented that the big discussion in her class was simply
“that [Harriet] looks like a man.” We discussed that Tubman dressed as she did
to disguise herself, as it was uncommon for women to travel alone. This led us
to identify her as a true heroine as attendees discussed in depth the
challenges and dangers she faced during her missions and serving as a spy
during the Civil War. Equally important, many saw Tubman as a complete person –
a woman. Participants learned that she loved and lost, but loved again.
They also witnessed how deeply she loved husband, John Tubman, who took another
wife after her escape; and how she mourned that relationship’s demise. Dunbar
shared that later in life, Tubman married a man 20 years her junior named
Nelson Davis and became Harriet Tubman Davis. Given the gasps from the
audience, it was evident that some present were not aware of this relationship.
Additionally, many were astounded to learn that Tubman was an activist in the
struggle for women’s suffrage.
There were a few “firsts” that were discussed as well. “Harriet”
is the first biopic of an African-American woman produced and directed by
African-American women. Also, Dunbar is the first person of African descent to
author a book about Harriet Tubman Davis.
Viewers were grateful for this experience to learn about the
many facets of Harriet Tubman Davis, which sadly are not universally known. As
such, the movie “Harriet” is an important story that must be told. This was a
valuable cultural learning experience for all.
Submitted by Raquel Horn Media On Sunday, Oct. 20, 2019, the Arts & Letters Committee of the Central Jersey Alumnae Chapter (“CJA”) of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. hosted a Red Carpet Event at the Reading Cinemas located in Manville, NJ. The theater was filled to capacity as approximately 200 members and guests gathered for …