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Step back in time with 'The Poppaw Queen,' a gripping historical documentary by director and Queen descendant, Malachi E. Robinson. Immerse yourself in the story of Mary Queen and her fearless descendants who battled for liberty. From an illegal indentured servant to courtroom struggles, it's a story of resilience and injustice. Through compelling interviews and thought-provoking performances, witness Mary Queen's extraordinary saga—from her South American roots to the historic fight for freedom by her descendants. Experience the untold chapters of resilience, legal battles, and the enduring legacy that challenges Maryland's suppressed history of slavery.

Join us for the exclusive premiere of 'The Poppaw Queen' documentary on Thursday, May 23 at 7pm at Bowie Center for the Performing Arts. The evening promises not just a screening but a celebration of community, shared history, and the power of storytelling.

This project has been sponsored by the City of Bowie, Maryland State Arts Council, Anacostia Trails Heritage Area, Maryland Heritage Areas Authority, Joe's Movement Emporium and the Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County.


Watch the teaser trailer

Watch our feature on FOX 5 DC

Go Behind-The-Scenes


This documentary seeks to do the following:

  • Feature thought-provoking interviews and commentary from expert historians, genealogists, archaeologists, and Queen descendants.

  • Encourage the descendants of enslaved people to research their ancestry to find healing, peace, and purpose

  • Highlight the story behind the GU272 (the sale of 272 slaves by the Maryland Jesuits to finance Georgetown University)

  • Influence the declaration of the Sacred Heart Catholic Church as a National Historic Site

  • Highlight the story of the historic freedom suits (slaves who filed lawsuits in the US Supreme Court against their slaveholders to assert their claim to freedom)

  • Educate and unite current & future GU272 descendants

  • Acknowledge the impact of slavery and how descendants can start the healing process for future generations

  • Shed light on the untold history of slavery in Maryland, the Freedom Suits, and the GU272 Jesuit Diaspora




MARY QUEEN, also known as the “Poppaw Queen” or “Queen Mary” was born—a free woman of color—between 1680 and 1690 near the Popayán Province, in South America. During the time of “Queen Anne’s War,” she embarked a two–year voyage to England after the British privateer Captain Woodes Rogers laid siege on the port town of Guayaquil in modern–day Ecuador. Around 1715, Mary was brought to the South River Hundred, in Anne Arundel County, Maryland by Captain Thomas Larkin. She entered an indenture with merchant-planter James Carroll, at his Fingaul plantation in All Hallows Parish, Anne Arundel County, Maryland, but was illegally enslaved and never set free. In his last will and testament dated 12 February 1728, James Carroll bequeathed Fingaul, along with his White Marsh properties—including the “Bright Seat Farm”—to Jesuit superior, Rev. George Thorold, S.J. Two of Mary’s daughters—Nanny and Phillis—remained at Fingaul, while she and her son, Ralph, were later sent to the ‘Old Bohemia’ plantation, in Warwick, Cecil County, Maryland. Many, if not all, of the Queen families enslaved by the Maryland Jesuits descend from the maternal lines of either Nanny Cooper (a.k.a. “Queen”) or Phillis Queen.

In 1796, some of Mary Queen’s descendants petitioned for their freedom in the Courts of Maryland and the District of Columbia on the claim that she was born a free woman. Many recovered their freedom, while others were unsuccessful and remained enslaved by the Jesuits.


(--excerpt from the Queen Family Heritage Foundation website, see link here:



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