Never Caught: The Washingtons’ Relentless Pursuit of Their Runaway Slave, Ona Judge
6pm – 7pm: Lecture with Dr. Erica Armstrong Dunbar
Reception to follow
This year, the Library Company will commemorate Juneteenth with a lecture by Dr. Erica Armstrong Dunbar, our own Director of the Program in African American History and the Blue and Gold Distinguished Professor of Black American Studies and History at the University of Delaware. Never Caught is the powerful narrative of Ona Judge, George and Martha Washington’s runaway slave, who risked everything to reach freedom. Though she lived a life of relative comfort, this was 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.
The Program in African American History at the Library Company of Philadelphia hosts an annual Juneteenth Freedom Seminar, which serves as a recognition of Juneteenth—one of the oldest known celebrations commemorating the ending of slavery in the United States.