Gregg Mitman Presents Empire of Rubber with Will Jones and Tabeh Freeman
October 28, 2021
- 7:00 PM CST
Magers and Quinn Booksellers
3038 Hennepin Avenue ,
Minneapolis MN
Gregg Mitman’s Empire of Rubber tells a sweeping story of capitalism, racial exploitation, and environmental devastation, uncovering how Firestone Tire and Rubber Company transformed Liberia into America’s rubber empire. Mitman scoured remote archives to unearth a history of promises unfulfilled for the vast numbers of Liberians who toiled on rubber plantations built on taken land. Mitman reveals a history of racial segregation and medical experimentation that reflected Jim Crow America—on African soil.
As Firestone reaped fortunes, wealth and power concentrated in the hands of a few elites, fostering widespread inequalities that fed unrest, rebellions and, eventually, civil war. A riveting narrative of ecology and disease, of commerce and science, and of racial politics and political maneuvering, Empire of Rubber uncovers the hidden story of a corporate empire whose arm reaches into the present.
Gregg Mitman is Professor of History, Medical History, and Environmental Studies at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. An award-winning author and filmmaker, his recent films and books include The Land Beneath Our Feet and Breathing Space: How Allergies Shape Our Lives and Landscapes.
William P. Jones is Professor and Director of Graduate Studies in the History Department at the University of Minnesota and President of the Labor and Working-Class History Association.  He is author, most recently, of The March on Washington: Jobs, Freedom, and the Forgotten History of Civil Rights, and has written for The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Nation, Dissent and other publications. He is currently writing a book titled Essential Workers: Public Employees and the Dignity of Labor.
Tabeh Freeman is a Professor of Epidemiology at William V.S. Tubman University in Maryland County, Liberia.  He previously served as Dean and Associate Professor of Epidemiology in the A.M. Dogliotti College of Medicine at the University of Liberia.  A former epidemiologist and Emergency and Humanitarian Actions advisor to the World Health Organization, Professor Freeman received his initial medical training as an RN in the Firestone Hospital School of Nursing in Liberia.