Convocation Lecture to Focus on Book About Washingtons’ Runaway Slave
Events and Lectures

Franklin College will host the first lecture in its 2018-19 Convocation Lecture Series on Thursday, Oct. 25 at 7 p.m. in Spurlock Center Gymnasium.  The lecture, titled “The Founding of the Nation Through the Eyes of the Enslaved,” will be presented by Erica Armstrong Dunbar, Ph.D.

The convocation will focus on Dunbar’s book, Never Caught: The Washingtons’ Relentless Pursuit of Their Runaway Slave, Ona Judge.

Dunbar is the Charles and Mary Beard Professor of History at Rutgers University. Her publications, teaching and documentary appearances have placed her among a small number of African-American women scholars who study black life, culture and gender up to the Civil War.

When George Washington was elected president, he reluctantly left behind his beloved Mount Vernon to serve in New York and then Philadelphia, the temporary seat of the nation’s capital. In setting up his household, he brought along nine slaves, including Ona Judge.

Though Ona Judge lived a life of relative comfort, she was denied freedom. So, when the opportunity presented itself one spring day in Philadelphia, Judge left everything she knew to escape to New England. Yet freedom would not come without its costs. At age 22, Judge became the subject of an intense manhunt led by Washington, who used his political and personal contacts to try and recapture his property.

Franklin College tradition includes hosting an annual Convocation Lecture Series that promotes the ideals of the institution. The college upholds a common set of values that enhances the community and sustains personal, spiritual and professional growth for a lifetime. The college values people of integrity, a commitment to inclusivity, a culture of intellectual curiosity, the drive for innovation and creativity and the spirit of community.

The lecture is free and open to the public.

To request disability-related accommodations for this event, please email


POSTED Oct 2, 2018