“The Combahee River Collective was a Black feminist group in Boston whose name came from the guerrilla action conceptualized and led by Harriet Tubman on June 2, 1863, in the Port Royal region of South Carolina. This action freed more than 750 slaves and is the only military campaign in American history planned and led by a woman.”
What and Why
June 2, 2013 will be the 150th anniversary of Harriet Tubman’s successful uprising where 750 enslaved Africans freed themselves and each other at the Combahee River. This uprising was also the inspiration for the Combahee River Collective a Black lesbian feminist socialist collective founded in Boston in 1977 who created an analysis of interconnected liberation centered on the lived experiences of Black women and designed to free us all.
In the spirit of the Combahee River Collective, Harriet Tubman and all the people who stood for their freedom that day the Mobile Homecoming Project and Eternal Summer of the Black Feminist Mind will be coordinating a pilgrimage to the Harriet Tubman Bridge on the Combahee River for a weekend of celebration, clarification, community building and ritual. Special invited guests include Combahee River Collective Statement co-authors Barbara Smith, Beverly Smith and Demita Frazier, and Black Feminist Retreat Attendee and Mobile Homecoming Interviewee Cessie Alfonso.
This journey is for self-identified queer, LGBTQ or queer affirming Black people who are committed to fulfilling our freedom legacies in our daily lives and our communities.
(Allies who share this commitment are welcome to contribute financial or in-kind donations, to spread the word to loved ones in the core constituency, to contribute organizational scholarships and to support their loved ones in being able to attend. Thank you for your love!)
Why name it after one person? … I think if we had called ourselves the Harriet Tubman Collective, there wouldn’t have been any problems, because she stood for so much. But why not name it after a liberation, a very specific instance of a liberation struggle and liberating action? That’s how the name came about.
Combahee River Collective co-founder Barbara Smith in an interview with Alexis Pauline Gumbs in 2011
Mobile Homecoming and Eternal Summer of the Black Feminist Mind will be leaving from Durham, NC on Friday May 31st and caravaning to the Penn Center on St. Helena Island in South Carolina where we will be together until Monday Morning (June 3rd) when we will return to Durham, NC to bring the liberation energy to the Eno River. Participants are free to fly in to Charleston and meet us at the Penn Center or to attend whatever part of the events speak to your soul and resonate with your schedule.
A rough idea of the daily breakdown is
Friday: arriving by evening and settling in
Saturday: liberation workshops at Penn Center and community connections with Sea Island Black Farmers
Sunday: dance, ritual, music, celebration at the Combahee River
Monday: travel to NC and celebration at Eno River with Durham community
Harriet Tubman Bridge is located on Highway 17 over the Combahee River
32.652406, -80.683246 +32° 39′ 8.66″, -80° 40′ 59.69″
Online sliding scale registration will open on May 1st. There is limited housing which will be reserved on a first come first serve registration basis. Registration options are available that include transportation (from Durham), housing, food and all events OR just housing, food and participation in SC OR just day passes for folks local to SC or who can provide their own housing.
Our funding model is characterized by grassroots partnerships. Individual registrations will pay for logistics, housing, facilitation, documentation and transportations for our esteemed Combahee River inspired Black feminist lesbian elders. We encourage participants to fundraise and we will help spread the word about individual or group fundraising campaigns. We are also working with our favorite Combahee inspired organizations to provide scholarships for participants.
email firstname.lastname@example.org for scholarship/subsidy info or to make a payment plan.
Co-sponsors can provide scholarships at 3 levels
$500 for one participant
$375 each for two participants ($750 total)
$300 each for 3 or more participants
Co-sponsors can choose to use their scholarships to send LGBTQ or LGBTQ affirming Black participants in their own organizations or to make participation available for participants seeking support directly from Mobile Homecoming/Eternal Summer of the Black Feminist Mind.
Individuals who are not attending can also provide scholarships named after loved ones who they want to honor by supporting this work.
Location of the Harriet Tubman Bridge on Highway 17 over the Combahee River:
View Harriet Tubman Bridge in a larger map