D.C. Mondays: The Life of Josiah Henson

A white, one-story house with a small log cabin next to it and trees in the background
The Josiah Henson Museum & Park, a Montgomery County historic site where Henson was enslaved.


During his lifetime, Reverend Josiah Henson (1789-1883) was closely affiliated with “Uncle Tom.” The legacy endures, but behind this fictional character was a real man with significant achievements. In her presentation, Jamie Ferguson will dissect the life of this formerly enslaved man and how his time in Montgomery County, Maryland, ultimately propelled him into international fame.

The new Josiah Henson Museum & Park in North Bethesda exhibits Henson’s trajectory from slavery to stardom. The extensive research behind it is included in the book Sharp Flashes of Lightning Come From Black Clouds. As the author and the project manager of this museum endeavor, Ferguson will give the community a peek into this publication, the new facility and the challenges faced in bringing Henson’s story into the 21st century.

About Jamie Ferguson

Jamie Ferguson is the senior historian in the Montgomery Parks Cultural Resources Stewardship Section. She has worked with M-NCPPC since 2008 on research, developing interpretive signage and managing cemeteries on county park land. She is completing a doctoral degree in the history of American civilization at the University of Delaware. Her dissertation is entitled “Asylum for Jim Crow: African American Mental Hospitals in the Upper South, 1865-1965.” Ferguson holds a master’s degree in history from James Madison University and a bachelor’s history from Radford University.

How to Participate

This program will take place on Zoom. To participate, please register online, and we will email you a link and instructions for joining. Simply follow that link at the time the event starts (12 p.m. EST / 9 a.m. PST). When you register, you can also request to receive a reminder email one day before the program with the link included.  

About the D.C. Mondays Series

Join local authors, researchers and community members online for lively discussions about Washington, D.C.’s history, politics, culture and more. Browse upcoming programs