I wrote about the first President using resources of the federal government to chase Judge (also called Oney Judge) here. There’s much more to her story. Shana L. Haines’s review of this book at the Junto states:
Judge’s story has long been an interesting footnote, paragraph, or article. Unlike many references to Judge, Dunbar’s comprehensive treatment presents Judge as a fully fleshed out human being grappling with the dehumanization of slavery and the complexities of freedom. For both scholars of Early American slavery and the general public, Judge is being reintroduced as an important figure in our understanding of Early American slavery and resistance. Through Dunbar’s empathetic and well-researched biography, the woman whose safety and freedom in eighteenth-century America depended upon remaining hidden, is finally given prominence in her own story rather than as aside to the Washingtons. . . .Judge settled in Portsmouth, making her story local as well as national. The Portsmouth Historical Society is hosting Prof. Dunbar’s talk as part of a two-hour program:
Dunbar uses runaway slave notices, Washington’s own diaries and letters, and archival information about slave laws, politics, and abolitionist practices to weave a tense and suspenseful tale of Judge’s game of cat and mouse. Within this fugitive slave narrative is also embedded the emotional toll of separation from family and the physical and economic realities of day-to-day living for black women in the early republic. As America was wrestling with how to implement its Constitutional principles, Judge was forging marriage, motherhood, and community through resilience and courage.
- 2:00 P.M.: Gwendolyn Quezaire-Presutti portrays Ona Judge in a living-history performance.
- 2:30: Author presentation.
- 3:15: Q. & A.