Between Freedom and Equality Wednesday

MAY 5 AT 7:30 PM

Descendants of George and Elizabeth Pointer gathered in Lafayette Park, 2015. Photo by Tanya Gaskins Hardy. Courtesy James Fisher, Pointer Family Archives

From an enslaved African American purchasing his freedom to a 20th-century eminent domain land seizure, Between Freedom and Equality: The History of an African American Family in Washington, DC (June 2021) is a dramatic account of freedom amid slavery and six generations of a DC family.

Authors Barbara Boyle Torrey and Clara Myrick Green trace six generations in one Washington family, beginning with Capt. George Pointer, a Maryland man born enslaved in 1773 who purchased his freedom 20 years later while working for George Washington’s Potomac Company. The land in Northwest DC where four generations of Pointer’s descendants later farmed was briefly engulfed by the Civil War and then seized by eminent domain for the expanding suburb of Chevy Chase, DC—specifically, to build Lafayette Elementary School for white children. Today efforts are underway in Chevy Chase to reckon with this history and further awareness of the legacy of George Pointer and his descendants. Torrey and Green’s thorough research and stirring narrative provide unique insight across two centuries of DC history.

Join Washington History Editorial Board member Chris Myers Asch and authors of the forthcoming Between Freedom and Equality: The History of an African American Family in Washington, DC Barbara Boyle Torrey and Clara Myrick Green for a conversation about the Pointer family’s legacy. The authors will be joined by James Fisher and Tanya Gaskins Hardy, who co-authored the forward for Beyond Freedom and Equality.

This talk is part of a series discussing DC history books of distinction, led by editors of Washington History.

Participation instructions and the Zoom link will be sent to registrants prior to the event.