A Talk at Tudor Place

On Saturday, April 14, at 11 am, I will be speaking about Freedom Calls at Tudor Place. This historic house in Georgetown will host a reenactment of a Civil War encampment on its grounds. I’ll be discussing the life of African Americans in Washington during the years before the Civil War —those who were free and those who were enslaved, including the 76 men, women and children who boarded the Pearl in a Georgetown harbor to escape from slavery only to be captured a few days later. I’ll also talk about the people who played major roles in the events of the time—both Gamaliel Bailey, publisher of the abolitionist newspaper the National Era, and Horace Mann, the Congressman from Massachusetts who served as the defense attorney for the captain of the Pearl, as well as two fictional characters, Louisa—a fugitive aboard the Pearl and Abby—the daughter of Gamaliel Bailey.

Tudor Place has a fascinating history: Dr. William Thornton, the architect of the U.S. Capitol, designed Tudor Place, home to Thomas Peter and Martha Custis, the granddaughter of Martha Washington. The Peters’ daughter, Britannia Peter Kennon, was born, married, and died at Tudor Place. During the Civil War, she took in Union soldiers as boarders.

Please join us! For more information on Saturday’s event, see