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The Fight For Freedom Against All Odds

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When the American republic was only a couple decades old, and more people were held enslaved in Maryland than all but two other states, enslaved people could petition the courts for freedom--if they could show they were descended from a woman who had been free. Before slaveholders got the laws changed, hundreds of enslaved people in Prince George’s County won their independence. Researching this history for his book A Question of Freedom, The Families Who Challenged Slavery From the Nation's Founding to the Civil WarWilliam G. Thomas III talked to descendants of people enslaved by Jesuit priests in Prince George’s … and learned that his white forebears helped the Jesuits. This country needs a reckoning of slavery’s impact, Thomas says.

Thomas will speak about A Question of Freedom next month, on Feb. 15, at 6:30 p.m.-- at an event organized by the Prince George’s County Historical Society and the Marietta House Museum - visit this link for more information.

Sheilah Kast is the host of On The Record, Monday-Friday, 9:30-10:00 am.
Melissa Gerr is a producer for On the Record. She started in public media at Twin Cities Public Television in St. Paul, Minn., where she is from, and then worked as a field producer for Oregon Public Broadcasting in Portland. She made the jump to audio-lover in Baltimore as a digital media editor at Mid-Atlantic Media and Laureate Education, Inc. and as a field producer for "Out of the Blocks." Her beat is typically the off-beat with an emphasis on science, culture and things that make you say, 'Wait, what?'