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Never Caught: The Washingtons' Relentless Pursuit of Their Runaway Slave, Ona Judge | Erica Armstrong Dunbar

SMU's Center for Presidential History, Clements Department of History and the World Affairs Council of Dallas/Fort Worth

Monday, February 18, 2019 from 6:00 PM to 7:30 PM (CST)

Never Caught: The Washingtons' Relentless Pursuit of...

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General Admission   more info 9h 3m Free   Add to Waitlist

Share Never Caught: The Washingtons' Relentless Pursuit of Their Runaway Slave, Ona Judge | Erica Armstrong Dunbar

Event Details

This Presidents Day event features Dr. Erica Armstrong Dunbar, the Charles & Mary Beard Professor of History at Rutgers University, and the Inaugural Director of the Program in African American History at the Library Company of Philadelphia. She will present from her award-winning book, Never Caught: The Washingtons’ Relentless Pursuit of Their Runaway Slave, Ona Judge.

 

A startling and eye-opening look into America’s First Family, Never Caught is the powerful narrative of Ona Judge, George and Martha Washington’s runaway slave who risked everything to escape the nation’s capital and reach freedom.

 

When George Washington was elected president, he reluctantly left his beloved Mount Vernon to serve in Philadelphia, the temporary seat of the nation’s capital. In setting up his household he took Tobias Lear, his celebrated secretary and eight slaves, including Ona Judge, about whom little has been written. As he grew accustomed to Northern ways, there was one change he couldn’t get his arms around: Pennsylvania law required enslaved people be set free after six months of residency in the state. Rather than comply, Washington decided to circumvent the law. Every six months he sent the slaves back down south just as the clock was about to expire.

 

Though Ona Judge lived a life of relative comfort, the few pleasantries she was afforded were nothing compared to freedom, a glimpse of which she encountered first-hand in Philadelphia. So, when the opportunity presented itself, Judge left everything she knew to escape to New England. Yet freedom would not come without its costs.

 

At just twenty-two-years-old, Ona became the subject of an intense manhunt led by George Washington, who used his political and personal contacts to recapture his property.

 

With impeccable research, historian Erica Armstrong Dunbar weaves a powerful tale and offers fascinating new scholarship on how one young woman risked it all to gain freedom from the famous founding father.


 

Parking will be available on the SMU campus. FREE passes will be emailed to registered guests before the event.  Seating is limited, and not guaranteed.

 

Armstrong Dunbar's publications of the same title will be available for purchase and signing after the event.

 

TEACHERS ONLY -- Please sign in at the registration table to receive continuing education credit. 

 

Cosponsored with SMU’s Clements Department of History with support from the Scott Hawkins Fund in the Dedman College Interdisciplinary Institute, and the George W. Bush LIbrary and Museum.

Have questions about Never Caught: The Washingtons' Relentless Pursuit of Their Runaway Slave, Ona Judge | Erica Armstrong Dunbar? Contact SMU's Center for Presidential History, Clements Department of History and the World Affairs Council of Dallas/Fort Worth

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When & Where


SMU Campus, McCord Auditorium, 306 Dallas Hall
3225 University Boulevard
Dallas, TX 75205

Monday, February 18, 2019 from 6:00 PM to 7:30 PM (CST)


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