Regarding Mary Fields
When Miantae first learned of the Montana regional legend that reported Mary Fields as “a cigar-smoking, two-hundred-pound crack shot riflewoman, stagecoach driver and town mascot whose face was as black as the prairie...” she suspected that the “white narrative” was wrought with discrimination and that the true account of this woman’s life had to be phenomenal. She set off to search for the true story.
During the decade that followed, McConnell discovered documentation that enabled USPS historians to verify Mary Fields as the first African American woman star route mail carrier in the United States. She also located the voter registration ledger that includes Mary Fields’s registration for the vote, and thus, established Mary as the first person of color to register for the vote in Cascade, Montana.
Though Mary Fields’s many achievements were accomplished by her extraordinary aptitudes and the ability to continually confront violence and betrayal yet survive, it is the author’s belief that the former slave’s most enduring legacy comes via her deeper nature, an unbiased goodness that enabled Mary to foster strength in the face of adversity, share her strength by nurturing those who suffered and by helping those in need, while at the same time, moving forward, being true to herself, and dedicated to her personal pursuit of a future where peace, freedom, and justice would prevail.
A nonfiction companion book, Mary Fields’s Road to Freedom: Montana History, scheduled for release in 2022, contains interconnected historical overviews of pertinent events 1885-1914, and many documents, records, diary entries and images discovered during ten years of research for the Deliverance Mary Fields biography. This should help to dispel some of the many false Mary Fields legends that persist today.