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James Johnston speaking about Yarrow Mamout on January 22 CANCELLED

Due to the blizzard expected in the Washington region, the Library of Congress is closing all buildings at noon. (9:45 a.m 9/22/2016)

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:   Friday, January 22, 2016
Time:  11:30 am
Place:  West Dining Room, 6th Floor, Madison Building (LM621)


  1. PSR
    January 25, 2016 at 9:45 pm

    Very fantastic live story. An educated slave after 44 years struggle turned into a business man and established identity. Hats-off to legendary ‘Yarrow Mamout’ and it is a great feeling to his family members. Really a very touching story to listen.Fantastic.

  2. Frank Ryan
    January 28, 2016 at 2:38 pm

    Any chance the book talk will be rescheduled?

  3. Ellen Terrell
    February 1, 2016 at 10:03 am

    The lecture has been rescheduled for April 6 at 11:30 in the West Dining Room.

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