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Book Talk September 23: From Slave Ship to Harvard – POSTPONED

Curious about a portrait of “Old Yarrow”  by James Alexander Simpson that hangs in the Peabody Room of Washington, D.C.’s Georgetown public library, James J. Johnston a journalist and attorney decided he wanted to know more and eventually ended up writing a book From Slave Ship to Harvard.

flier imageThe portrait “Old Yarrow” was of Yarrow Mamout an educated Muslim who was captured in Guinea and brought to Maryland where he became a slave for one of Georgetown’s founding families, the Bealls. After forty-four years Mamout earned his freedom and became one of the most well-known African Americans in Georgetown. He became a very successful and distinguished entrepreneur and made his fortune in a variety of businesses including making bricks and charcoal, loading ships, and weaving baskets. Eventually, he became so successful that he became a local financier, and was able to purchase his own property and even own stock in the Columbia Bank of Georgetown. He was so well known that American portraitist Charles Willson Peale painted his portrait. This portrait – used for the cover of the book – now hangs in the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

If you want to hear about the remarkable life of Yarrow Mamout and generations of his relatives who were notable in their own right, James Johnston will be speaking at the Library of Congress about his book From Slave Ship to Harvard.

Date:     Wednesday September 23, 2015
Time:     11:30 am
Place:    Mary Pickford Theater 3rd Floor, Madison Building (LM302)

For those coming to the event, the Papal visit may cause delays on the Metro and Metro bus.


EDIT:  We apologize for the late notice, but we have decided that it would be best to postpone this event. No future date and time has yet been decided but when we do we will publish another post at that time.


  1. Pamela Setla
    September 17, 2015 at 3:27 pm

    What an amazing story! BUT it is a horrendous crime that he was enslaved for forty-four years. I can’t even begin to imagine that and the fact that he was so successful even after such a horrible life. Imagine what he could have done with his earlier life without being enslaved.

  2. R. Henry
    September 23, 2015 at 6:08 am

    It sounds like a great educational story.

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