In late April we set off on our first Field Trip of 2023 with a whirlwind tour of Washington, D.C. with 40 of our newest friends. It’s hard to get away for the eight or nine days of our other Field Trips, so what can we see and do in half that time?
The answer: a lot.
We outlined the trip in the episode from the first night to the last final dinner together and gave our fellow travelers a chance to share their impressions, highlights, photos, and lessons that they learned from the trip.
We began with cocktails and a trolly tour of the nation’s capital at night. All the monuments and buildings were lit and sparkling–it was a magical way to see the city as a whole.
On our first full day, we toured the museum and estate of Marjorie Merriweather Post, Hillwood, from the mansion to the gardens and a special visit to the archives. That afternoon we visited the former home and office of another previous subject, Clara Barton’s Missing Soldiers Office, and followed that with afternoon tea at the historic Willard Hotel.
Day three brought us to two Smithsonian Museums: The National Museum of African American History and the National Museum of American History and ended with dinner, dancing, and meeting visiting listeners on a Potomac cruise.
I go to prepare a place for you by Bisa Butler. Read about it HERE (Susan LOVED this piece of art.)
Finally, on day four, we had a “Women That Changed America” walking tour, a trip through the National Portrait Gallery, and on to a private tour and dinner at Mount Vernon, the site we were just talking about on both the Martha Washington and Ona Judge episodes! That is a high point of all these trips: Standing where so many of our former subjects had been during their remarkable lives.
If you would like to join us on Field Trip, there are still (as of May 17, 2023) a few spots for London in September of this year. That trip is almost sold out (Paris is so sold out that the waitlist could fill two more tours) but there are still tickets for the dinner cruise in both London and Paris so head over to Like Minds Traveland take a gander at that itinerary and join us for dinner!
Ona Judge was born enslaved, grew up enslaved, and while she was legally enslaved, she lived free for the majority of her life. Ona Maria Judge was the daughter of an enslaved seamstress named Betty and an indentured servant, Andrew Judge. Both were working at George Washington’s home plantation, Mount Vernon when Ona was born. Andrew made a fast exit because he could once his four years of indenture were complete, and Ona was raised in the enslaved community of the Virginia plantation.
Ona was there when the Washingtons went to the Revolutionary War, and she was there when they came back home to stay, eight years later. Shortly after that, she was tapped to be trained as Martha’s personal “servant,” and it was in this capacity that she went on the road with the Washingtons when George was elected President of the United States.
We go through a lot of her life, her responsibilities, the people that were her community and family, and what life was like in the bustling world of Philadelphia where Ona was introduced to something that she had never seen: a free-Black population.
Since Ona’s story runs parallel to Martha Washington’s, we strongly suggest you listen to that episode (#225) to get a fuller picture of the setting, and challenges, of Ona’s life. What makes Ona’s story special is that she just walked away from enslavement when she was 22 and never went back. We talk about what she did for the next 52 years as a fugitive boldly living her life as a free woman.
***Shownotes are under construction, please come back later for our media recommendations, but here’s a couple to hold you over:***
Some called her The Mother of the Country, some curtseyed and called her Lady Washington, but no one could doubt that she was uniquely capable to shoulder the responsibilities and rigors of both war and diplomacy. Martha Washington’s philosophy of “duty over inclination” became the template for future First Ladies in the newly-formed United States of America.
****Shownotes under construction, please come back later for all of our media recommendations****
When we left Mrs. Bethune in Part One, she was improving and growing her school campus and helping her entire community along the way. Now she’s going to kick it into high gear: a national stage, increased organizational involvement, presidential appointments, and turning her school from one building and five students…to a co-educational college. She stood on picket lines, sat in committees, campaigned for the American Red Cross, and founded the National Council of Negro Women. She was an advisor to presidents, helped form the United Nations, ran a government agency during the FDR years, and was on the ground floor of civil rights issues that would build throughout the century and beyond…and those are just some of the things we talk about, there was so much more work she did that it made us wonder how she got it all done in a lifetime. Not everything she touched was a success, but as a model of how to warm hearts and minds to bring education and equality to the forefront of both, she was a lifelong success.
Mary Jane McLeod Bethune, or “Mrs. Bethune” because this is a woman who requires our respect, touched almost every aspect of women’s and civil rights in the first half of the 1900s. She was, quite simply, born to carry the light for others to follow. From African American voting rights to suffrage to education, social work, and beyond, she was there there for all of it and there is no way her life and impact can be put into one episode, we need two.
We left Frances as she ascended to a top spot as the Industrial Commissioner of the state of New York, under governor Franklin D. Roosevelt. She was going toe-to-toe in the press with President Herbert Hoover about the state of the economy. He said it was turning, she was proving he was lying. Pretty bold of her, non?