Erica Armstrong Dunbar will discuss the life of Ona Judge, a woman whose life story examines the irreconcilable tension between the concept of freedom and the institution of slavery. "Running from the Washingtons" illuminates the contradictions and flaws of America and its Founding Fathers and highlights the bravery and courage of a young enslaved woman who literally stole herself from George and Martha Washington.
Commonwealth Honors College will host Erica Armstrong Dunbar, writer, historian, and lecturer, as part of its 20th Anniversary Black History Month Celebration. Dunbar is the Charles and Mary Beard Professor of History at Rutgers University. Her first book, A Fragile Freedom: African American Women and Emancipation in the Antebellum City was published by Yale University in 2008. Her second book, Never Caught: The Washingtons’ Relentless Pursuit of Their Runaway Slave, Ona Judge (37Ink/Atria) was a finalist for the National Book Award in nonfiction and a winner of the 2018 Frederick Douglass Book Prize. The young readers version of Never Caught (Aladdin/Simon and Schuster) was published in January 2019. In the fall of 2019, Dunbar published She Came To Slay: The Life and Times of Harriet Tubman, an accessible biography of one of the most remarkable social activists of the 19th century. Dunbar’s op-eds in outlets such as the New York Times, The Nation, TIME, Essence, and the Philadelphia Inquirer, her commentary in media outlets such as CNN and the LA Times, and her appearances in documentaries such as “Philadelphia: The Great Experiment,” “The Abolitionists” an American Experience production on PBS, and the forthcoming Ken Burns’ documentary on Ben Franklin, place her at the center of America’s public history.