Episode 93: Ona Judge, George Washington, & the Histories of African American Women with Erica Armstrong Dunbar

In this episode, Dan and Michael chat with Erica Armstrong Dunbar about the work of historians, telling the stories of African American women, teaching slavery, and specifically her book, Never Caught: The Washingtons’ Relentless Pursuit of Their Runaway Slave, Ona Judge.

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Ep 93

Books, Articles and Other Amazing Resources

  1. Dunbar, E. A. (2017). Never caught: The Washingtons’ relentless pursuit of their runaway slave, Ona Judge. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster.
  2. Dunbar, E. A. (2008). A fragile freedom: African American women and emancipation in the antebellum city. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.
  3. Find more on Dr. Dunbar’s work on her site: https://ericaarmstrongdunbar.com/
  4. See related Visions of Education episodes:
    1. Episode 11: Rethinking Black History with LaGarrett King
    2. Episode 69: The Complexity of Citizenship for Black Women Social Studies Teachers with Amanda E. Vickery
    3. Episode 79: Black Critical Patriotism in Elementary Social Studies with Chris Busey & Irenea Walker
    4. Episode 80: New Standards for Teaching American Slavery with Kate Shuster
  5. Here is George Washington’s 1796 runaway ad for Ona Judge from the Philadelphia Gazette (Dr. Dunbar pointed out that this is incorrectly labeled as the Pennsylvania Gazette on Wikipedia) and here is Dan’s inquiry bellringer lesson he used in his class.
  6. Here are letters from George Washington to Oliver Wolcott (his Secretary of the Treasury) about Ona.


Erica Armstrong Dunbar, Ph.D. is a late eighteenth and early nineteenth-century scholar with a specialization in African American women’s history. She is an expert in urban slavery, emancipation studies, and the intersection of race and gender in American history. Her focus on early African American history serves as a natural bridge to her directorship of the Program in African American History at the Library Company of Philadelphia. You can find more on her work on her Rutgers page.

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