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

por Erica Armstrong Dunbar

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6573334,758 (3.79)43
"A revelatory account of the actions taken by the first president to retain his slaves in spite of Northern laws. Profiles one of the slaves, Ona Judge, describing the intense manhunt that ensued when she ran away."--NoveList. "When George and Martha Washington moved from their beloved Mount Vernon in Virginia to Philadelphia, then the seat of the nation's capital, they took nine enslaved people with them. They would serve as cooks and horsemen, as house servants and personal attendants. The North was different for the entire household, free and enslaved, white and black. There was a new climate to adjust to, and new mores as well. Slavery, in Philadelphia at least, was looked down upon. Indeed, there was even a law requiring slaveholders to free their slaves after six months. Yet George Washington thought he could outwit and circumvent the law by sending his slaves south every six months, thereby resetting the clock. Among the slaves to figure out this subterfuge was Ona Judge, Martha Washington's chief attendant. Having interacted with Philadelphia's sizable free black community, Ona Judge observed and soon longed for liberation. And, risking everything she knew, leaving behind everyone she loved and had known her entire life, she fled. Here, then, is the story not only of the powerful lure of freedom but also of George Washington's determination to recapture his property by whatever means necessary. Never Caught is the only book that examines the life of an eighteenth-century fugitive woman in intricate detail, and it provides a new look at George Washington's relationship to slavery. An important new work on one of the world's most celebrated families, Never Caught is a must-read for anyone interested in American history."--Dust jacket.… (mais)
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Mostrando 1-5 de 33 (seguinte | mostrar todos)
This book about Ona Judge and her bondage to and later escape from Martha and George Washington is well researched and very informative. There is a great deal of historical information shared so the reader can better understand the challenges and sadness of slavery. Or at least have a peek into that era and be saddened by how black people were treated. ( )
  LuLibro | Jan 22, 2024 |
This intimate history of one of George and Martha Washington's slaves shows how utterly delusional the Washingtons were with regard to the feelings of the people they owned. Some of their behavior is even despicable. Still the story itself is intriguing and inspirational ( )
  dcvance | Dec 21, 2023 |
What a spectacular story, what an amazing woman Ona Judge was. Born a dower slave to Martha and George Washington, Ona escaped from slavery at the age of 22 when she learned that she was to be given to the Washingtons' granddaughter and her new husband. Like the title says, despite all his attempts, Washington never caught Ona and she gave two interviews in her 70s to abolitionist newspapers at the end of her life, telling her story.

Erica Dunbar Armstrong is a strong storyteller. As a Canadian, I have only general knowledge of American history and Never Caught was extremely enlightening for me. I think she does a very good job of balancing the background of slavery in the United States with Ona's story, keeping an eye always that the reader understands the nuances of Black womanhood and how it would have affected Ona and other enslaved women. While the book is very clearly deeply researched (it's too easy to imagine the author poring over microfiche in darkened archives) Dunbar Armstrong does a really good job of keeping the formal and difficult academic language out of the text. ( )
  xaverie | Apr 3, 2023 |
*3.5 ( )
  Eavans | Feb 17, 2023 |
Gripping tale, beautifully rendered and a quick read. It serves as a perfect retort to those talk show hosts blabbing on about how slavery wasn't all bad. It also serves as a reminder to how people can rationalize dehumanizing other people. I started looking it over in a book store, took it home and didn't want to put it down. So I didn't. I recommend this book.

The storytelling of history rivals that of David McCullough though this author's outrage at the goings on is loud on the pages. For example, she quotes a manager's letter saying he gave the slave woman a good whipping and in the next sentence refers to the brutal whipping. (I'm too lazy to get the proper quotes but that is the gist.) I did not find her outrage lessened the accuracy and perhaps that insertion of a modern lexicon for the events made the story more readable. ( )
  TMLL | Aug 1, 2022 |
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For my mother, Frances Chudnick Armstrong, & my husband, Jeffrey Kim Dunbar
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In June of 1773, the unimaginable happened: it snowed in Virginia.
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"A revelatory account of the actions taken by the first president to retain his slaves in spite of Northern laws. Profiles one of the slaves, Ona Judge, describing the intense manhunt that ensued when she ran away."--NoveList. "When George and Martha Washington moved from their beloved Mount Vernon in Virginia to Philadelphia, then the seat of the nation's capital, they took nine enslaved people with them. They would serve as cooks and horsemen, as house servants and personal attendants. The North was different for the entire household, free and enslaved, white and black. There was a new climate to adjust to, and new mores as well. Slavery, in Philadelphia at least, was looked down upon. Indeed, there was even a law requiring slaveholders to free their slaves after six months. Yet George Washington thought he could outwit and circumvent the law by sending his slaves south every six months, thereby resetting the clock. Among the slaves to figure out this subterfuge was Ona Judge, Martha Washington's chief attendant. Having interacted with Philadelphia's sizable free black community, Ona Judge observed and soon longed for liberation. And, risking everything she knew, leaving behind everyone she loved and had known her entire life, she fled. Here, then, is the story not only of the powerful lure of freedom but also of George Washington's determination to recapture his property by whatever means necessary. Never Caught is the only book that examines the life of an eighteenth-century fugitive woman in intricate detail, and it provides a new look at George Washington's relationship to slavery. An important new work on one of the world's most celebrated families, Never Caught is a must-read for anyone interested in American history."--Dust jacket.

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