Vale Book Club follows ‘Runaway Slave’

Books on the Vale Book Club’s reading list can be checked out at the Vale Library. (The Enterprise/Yadira Lopez)

VALE – “Never Caught: Ona Judge, the Washingtons, and the Relentless Pursuit of their Runaway Slave,” by Erica Armstrong Dunbar, will be discussed this week by the Vale Book Club.

The group meets at 7 p.m. Thursday at the home of Carol Spears, 683 Cottage St. Lucy Hutchens will facilitate the discussion.

The book tells of Ona Judge, born into slavery and owned from birth by George and Martha Washington. She lived as a house slave at Mount Vernon, Virginia, and became personal attendant to Martha, first in New York and then later in Philadelphia while Washington D.C. was being prepared as the nation’s capital.

This illiterate girl went from a sheltered rural existence to large city exposure to abolitionists and a larger black population, some of whom were free.

After deciding to escape, she was assisted by abolition groups and eventually reached relative safety in New Hampshire.

Washington, outraged and embarrassed, employed slave catchers, bounty hunters, friends, and political connections in futile attempts to retrieve his property.


The author weaves a tense and suspenseful tale of Ona’s game of cat and mouse as she eluded capture.

For information, contact Hutchens, 208-739-6954, or Marge Mitchell, 208-739-4777.

Note: Review information excerpted from The Junto by Shana L. Haines.

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