Adventures in Feministory: Oney Judge
You know how most of the time everyone glorifies the forefathers of this nation and kinda glosses over the f*#$d up parts of our great nation's history? Yeah. Well, that's one reason why it's important to remember people like Oney Judge. Born in 1773 into slavery on the plantation of President Powdered Wig Boner himself (George Washington of course), Judge escaped after being offered up as a WEDDING GIFT to the Washingtons' granddaughter (and you thought that gift card to Target was an inappropriate present). Before we move on into greater detail, I'll let comedian Jen Kirkman take this one over:
What she lacks in accuracy (and sobriety) when it comes to her thoughts on Oney Judge, Kirkman makes up in attitude. Not to make light of this horrible story with drunk jokes, but Kirkman is certainly right to be righteously pissed. (Accuracy note, though: Judge died in 1848, not 1828.) Where the F did George Washington get off with the whole Fugitive Slave Act anyway? Oh, because once Oney risked her life to escape the fate of being someone's WEDDING GIFT, she and her children should be dragged back into slavery. Nice one, pres.
At any rate, we can all be inspired by Judge's bravery and smarts. She was resourceful, bold, and unwilling to back down because she knew she was right to fight for freedom. She chose to live in the woods with her family for three decades to avoid returning to property status, and hers is a story we know better than most slaves because she gave two newspaper interviews during her exile (both can be read here).
A reading of the two articles shows Judge to be just as outspoken and kickass as you'd expect from a brave bitch who took her freedom into her own hands. Not only does she badmouth the legislature and explain how she made her escape, she also takes a minute to personally call out the Washingtons for not being as "pious" as they'd have liked the public to believe. Wine drinking? Card playing? Booyah! Oney Judge, telling it like it is.
For those of you jonesing for more ways to honor the honorable Judge, Philadelphia has declared February 25 to be Oney Judge Day. Now there's a holiday worth celebrating. Let's just hope Presidents' Day doesn't try to retroactively enslave it.
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