When President George Washington came to Philadelphia, he brought nine slaves with him. But, Pennsylvania law required enslaved people to be freed after nine months. Ona Judge came to Philadelphia when she was just 16 years old as an enslaved person in the Washington household.
University of Delaware professor Erica Armstrong Dunbar has written a book about Ona Judge’s life called “Never Caught.” She spoke to Marty on Radio Times this morning and told her that it was in Philadelphia “that Ona sees freedom, black freedom, for the very first time and it changes her.”
There’s much more to the story of Ona Judge, including the Washington’s efforts to skirt Pennsylvania law in order to keep his slaves, Ona’s escape, and the President’s dogged effort to recapture her. Listen to the rest of Marty’s conversation.