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Never Caught: The Washingtons’ Relentless Pursuit of Their Runaway Slave, Ona Judge

February 18, 2019 @ 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm

This recording is the property of the SMU Center for Presidential History and may only be used for research and teaching purposes. It cannot be copied or reproduced for profit. © 2019

This Presidents Day event features 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 her groundbreaking findings from her award-winning book, Never Caught: The Washingtons’ Relentless Pursuit of Their Runaway Slave, Ona Judge, and from the Young Reader’s edition of the book, Never Caught, The Story of Ona Judge: George and Martha Washington’s Courageous Slave who Dared to Run Away.

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.

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.

Cosponsored with SMU’s Clements Department of History with support from the Scott Hawkins Fund in the Dedman College Interdisciplinary Institute.


February 18, 2019
6:00 pm - 7:30 pm


Brian Franklin
Ronna Spitz


Dallas Hall 306 (McCord Auditorium)
3225 University Blvd
Dallas, TX 75205 United States
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