Tenley Author Series

James Johnston

Book cover for From Slave Ship to HarvardPlease join local author James Johnston on Wednesday, Dec. 5 at 7 p.m. for a discussion of his second book, From Slave Ship to Harvard: Yarrow Mamout and the History of an African American Family.

Johnston became intrigued by Yarrow Mamout after viewing two rare portraits of this African American who lived in early Georgetown, and who was painted by Charles Willson Peale and local artist James Alexander Simpson. He discovered that Yarrow arrived in Annapolis on the slave ship, Elijah, on June 4, 1752, and eventually settled in Georgetown as a free man.  Johnston follows Yarrow’s son and other descendants in what may be the first time anyone has been able to trace a modern African American family from a specific slave ship, and describes the successes and setbacks of one family and the effect race had on them over a period of 275 years.

Johnston is a lawyer and writer who lives in Bethesda.  His first book, The Recollections of Margaret Cabell Brown Loughborough, is about a woman who lived in Richmond and Tenleytown during the Civil War.