Never Caught: The Washingtons’ Relentless Pursuit of Their Runaway Slave, Ona Judge

Finalist, National Book Awards 2017 for Nonfiction

Never Caught, by Erica Armstrong Dunbar book cover
ISBN 9781501126390
Atria / 37 INK / Simon & Schuster
Erica Armstrong Dunbar author photo, credit Whitney Thomas
Erica Armstrong Dunbar

Erica Armstrong Dunbar is the Charles and Mary Beard Professor of History at Rutgers University. She also serves as Director of the Program in African American History at the Library Company of Philadelphia. Her first book, A Fragile Freedom: African American Women and Emancipation in the Antebellum City was published by Yale University Press in 2008. More about this author >

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A startling and eye-opening look into America’s First Family, Never Caught is the powerful narrative of Ona Judge, George and Martha Washington’s runaway slave who risked everything to escape the nation’s capital and reach freedom.

Judges Citation

In her narrative about Ona Judge’s escape from the household of George Washington only to be ruthlessly, if futilely, pursued by the father of our country, historian Erica Armstrong Dunbar tells us more than the story of our nation’s first president and his attitude toward an exceptional Black bondswoman. Never Caught also illumines a history of liberty-loving Black communities in a country founded on the twin bedrock of slavery and freedom.