This program ran in 2018. It is archived here for those who are interested

Four communities are coming together during October and November in a partnership called All Hamptons Read. The inspiration for this multi-community initiative is the book Never Caught: The Washingtons’ Relentless Pursuit of Their Runaway Slave, Ona Judge by Erica Armstrong Dunbar, a National Book Award finalist. Spearheaded by the public libraries in Northampton, Florence, Easthampton, Southampton and Westhampton, All Hamptons Read is sponsoring dozens of events exploring slavery and the underground railroad, nationally and locally, through discussion, walking tours, art, film and lecture. We are thrilled to have the author speaking at a culminating event, Escaping Slavery, Envisioning Freedom, on November 27 with Barbara Krauthamer (UMass) at the new Northampton Center for the Arts at 33 Hawley Street. Community partners for this project are wide reaching including: Historic Northampton, UMass Amherst Public History Program, The David Ruggles Center for Early Florence History & Underground Railroad Studies, Sojourner Truth Memorial Committee, Northampton Film Festival and Northampton Community Television.

“All Hamptons Reads is a community project rich with the possibility of generating moments of shared understanding and aesthetic, with rich opportunity for shared discussion and celebration of the art of reading a book.”
— P. Al Williams, Executive Director, Northampton Community Television“Erica Armstrong Dunbar’s Never Caught: The Washingtons’ Relentless Pursuit of Their Runaway Slave, Ona Judge changes the way we think about American history, the Founding Generation, and the reality of slavery as a crucial institution in the formation of the United States. By telling this history from the vantage point of Ona Judge, this book challenges our national narratives by forcing us to confront, face to face, the contradiction of slaveholding among those who professed a love of liberty and a commitment to building a nation rooted in the Democratic ideals. Those who love a great story, meticulously researched and told by one of America’s premier historians, must read Never Caught!”
— Ousmane K. Power-Greene, Associate Professor of History, Clark University, author of Against Wind and Tide: The African American Struggle Against the Colonization Movement

Copies of Never Caught are available to borrow from the participating libraries and locations in each community. Ebooks and eaudio are also available through Overdrive.


Concurrent with All Hamptons Read, there will be a series of exhibits in the community focused on the themes of the Underground Railroad and enslaved peoples.

From Nov. 2nd-30th, the traveling exhibit Lewis Hayden and the Underground Railroad is coming to Northampton at Forbes Library. An opening reception and talk about Lewis Hayden will be held Monday November 5th from 6:30-8pm by Stephen Kenney, Ph.D., curator of Lewis Hayden Exhibit in the Hosmer Gallery and the adjacent Calvin Coolidge Presidential Library and Museum.

An exhibit entitled Chaotic Freedom and the Scars of Slavery: From Baton Rouge to Northampton based upon historian Bruce Laurie’s essay, ‘Chaotic Freedom in Civil War Louisiana: The Origins of an Iconic Image’ will be exhibited at Historic Northampton from October 12th-December 9th with an opening reception during Arts Night Out October 12th from 5-8pm. Dr. Laurie will present the exhibition lecture on Saturday, October 20, 2018 at 2 pm.

The David Ruggles Center for History and Education will preview the upcoming exhibit, “The Underground Railroad in Northampton and Florence: People, Places and Paper,” following Steve Strimer’s walking tour Of Florence Underground Railroad, Abolitionist and 19th century African-American Homes on October 28th. The walking tour will leave the David Ruggles Center at 10am with the exhibit preview and talk to follow from 12-4pm.

Convention of former slaves, Wash., D.C. , 1916. Photograph from the Library of Congress.


We are thankful to our co-sponsors, including:
UMass Amherst’s Feinberg Family Distinguished Lecture Series
UMass History Department
Amherst College English Department
Mt. Holyoke College Africana Studies Department
Northampton Community Television
Florence Bank
Easthampton Savings Bank
Friends of Forbes
Easthampton Emily Williston Memorial Library Friends
Southampton Edwards Library Friends
Westhampton Library Friends
Historic Northampton
David Ruggles Center for History and Education

Further Reading

For more books about the intersection of slavery, American history, and justice, check out our lists of suggested titles for adults and kids.

Book Discussion Guide