A slave cabin at George Washington's Mt. Vernon estate.

A slave cabin at George Washington's Mt. Vernon estate.

To the casual history student, George Washington’s views on slavery can be reduced to a single narrative: He freed his slaves. But the truth about the first president’s views may be a bit more muddled. While George Washington did own slaves –and some were freed after his death– the president’s pursuit of Ona Judge, his wife’s runaway slave, provides insight into how he felt about slavery during a turning point of our country’s history. We discuss the life of Ona Judge, and what her escape reveals about Washington’s beliefs.


  • Erica Armstrong Dunbar Author, "Never Caught: The Washingtons' Relentless Pursuit Of Their Runaway Slave, Ona Judge;" Professor of Black American Studies and History, University of Delaware

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