Ona Judge | New Hampshire Public Radio

Ona Judge

What can a graveyard tell you about civics, race, history, and memory? And how do gravesites of Black Americans in New Hampshire help us deepen our state's, and nation's, history?

Check out Past Lives, Present Learning, a project from Civics 101 and the Black Heritage Trail, which explores some of these historic locations in New Hampshire. 

Air date: Monday, February 8, 2021. 

How well do you really know George Washington? If you’re picturing wooden teeth and a cherry tree, you will want to tune in for NHPR reporter Casey McDermott's conversation with historians Alexis Coe and Erica Armstrong Dunbar. Their work challenges conventional wisdom about this founding father and brings to the forefront Ona Judge, the runaway enslaved person he pursued to Portsmouth, N.H..

Air date: Tuesday, Dec. 29, 2020. Originally aired June 24, 2020

Re-examining American History & American Icons

Jun 28, 2020

How well do you really know George Washington? If you’re picturing wooden teeth and a cherry tree, you will want to tune in for a conversation with historians Alexis Coe and Erica Armstrong Dunbar. Their work challenges conventional wisdom about this founding father and the runaway slave he pursued to Portsmouth, N.H. Recent topplings of Confederate statues have prompted a national conversation about other American leaders who were not a part of the Confederacy but who owned slaves, such as George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. NHPR Reporter Casey McDermott hosts.

Air date: Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Unsung: Ona Judge

Apr 3, 2019

Ona Judge isn’t a household name. Perhaps, in part, because she exemplifies our nation’s shameful past. Judge was Martha Washington’s slave -- her personal handmaid. For most of the 1790s, the President and his family lived in the nation’s capital of Philadelphia. Ona Judge occupied a room over the kitchen. 

That is, until dinnertime on May 21st, 1796, when she stepped outside and never looked back. Two days later, an ad appeared in the Philadelphia Gazette offering a ten dollar reward for her return.  

 

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Ona Judge, a runaway slave who evaded George Washington himself, lived most of her on New Hampshire’s Seacoast after gaining her freedom. Her story isn't well known, but there are many who are working to keep Judge’s history – and the history of the black community in Portsmouth – alive.