NONFICTION

Ona Judge Outwits the Washingtons: An Enslaved Woman Fights for Freedom

Capstone/Capstone Editions. Oct. 2019. 40p. (Encounter). bibliog. further reading. Tr $18.95. ISBN 9781543512809.
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Gr 4-6–Born to a white indentured servant father and an enslaved African woman, Ona Judge grew up on the Virginia plantation of George and Martha Washington. Judge learned to sew and worked with her mother inside the plantation home; she became a talented seamstress. When the Washingtons moved from Mount Vernon to the capital upon George’s election as president, she traveled with the couple and was ordered to specifically attend to Martha. Living in large Northern cities, Judge learned about freedom; she began to plot her escape from slavery. In May 1796, Judge fled the president’s home. Eventually she found safety in New Hampshire. She was able to maintain her freedom and avoid capture by agents from President Washington. She married a free black man named Jack Staines in 1797, and they raised a family. Despite several attempts to lure Judge back to Mount Vernon with the promise of her freedom, Washington was never able to persuade Judge to return: she remained free. The author includes a brief bibliography. Drawings are simple and one-dimensional.
VERDICT The attention-grabbing text and unique illustrations will make this a welcome addition for all history collections.

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