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Women in Early America$
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Thomas A. Foster

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9781479874545

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479874545.001.0001

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“I Knew That If I Went Back to Virginia, I Should Never Get My Liberty”

“I Knew That If I Went Back to Virginia, I Should Never Get My Liberty”

Ona Judge Staines, the President’s Runaway Slave

Chapter:
(p.225) 10 “I Knew That If I Went Back to Virginia, I Should Never Get My Liberty”
Source:
Women in Early America
Author(s):

Erica Armstrong Dunbar

Publisher:
NYU Press
DOI:10.18574/nyu/9781479874545.003.0011

On a spring evening in May 1796, Ona Judge Staines left her masters’ house in Philadelphia never to return. Judge Staines, the former slave of Martha Washington, escaped as her masters ate their supper. Judge Staines was one of the hundreds of slaves who labored on the Virginia plantation of George and Martha Washington, yet she was one of only nine slaves who were taken to Philadelphia to serve the president during the 1790s. Erica Armstrong Dunbar explores the life of Judge Staines during her captivity in Philadelphia through her eventual escape to Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

Keywords:   slavery, abolition, Ona Judge Staines, Martha Washington, George Washington

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