September 13, 2005 Josephine Pacheco to Discuss Her New Book on Oct. 26: "The Pearl: A Failed Slave Escape on the Potomac"

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Public Contact: Sheridan Harvey (202) 707-2273
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Author and historian Josephine F. Pacheco will discuss her latest book, “The Pearl: A Failed Slave Escape on the Potomac,” at the Library of Congress at noon on Wednesday, Oct. 26, in Dining Room A on the sixth floor of the James Madison Building, 101 Independence Ave. S.E., Washington, D.C.

The presentation is the eighth annual Judith P. Austin Memorial Lecture, sponsored by the Humanities and Social Sciences Division. The program is free and open to the public; tickets and reservations are not required. A book signing will follow the lecture.

In the book, Pacheco recounts the harrowing tale of an effort to use a schooner, “The Pearl,” to carry 76 runaway slaves from Washington, D.C., to freedom in Pennsylvania and points north. The book covers the entire story, from the slaves' preparations for escape to the trial of those who tried to help them, providing insight into the lives of enslaved blacks in the District of Columbia in 1848. Pacheco also examines the congressional debates about slavery that resulted from the escape attempt.

Pacheco is Distinguished Professor of History Emerita at George Mason University, where she was director of the Center for the Study of Constitutional Rights. She has written or edited six previous books, including “Three Who Dared: Prudence Crandall, Margaret Douglass, Myrtilla Miner: Champions of Antebellum Black Education,” and several books on George Mason

The Judith P. Austin Memorial Lecture is presented annually in memory of the outstanding contributions Austin made to the Library in the fields of genealogy, local history and librarianship. She served as the head of the Local History and Genealogy Reading Room and the Main Reading Room.


PR 05-188
ISSN 0731-3527