Shedding light on the forgotten stories of those who fought for freedom in the darkest corners of American history.
THE POPPAW QUEEN
The Poppaw Queen is a historical documentary film, directed by Malachi E. Robinson, chronicling the story of Mary Queen and her descendants' historic fight for freedom. Mary Queen (often named 'The Poppaw Queen') was born in South America and was illegally sold as an indentured servant in Maryland around 1715. In 1796, some of Mary Queen’s descendants petitioned for their freedom in the Courts of Maryland, District of Columbia, and the US Supreme Court on the claim that she was born a free woman. Many recovered their freedom, while others were unsuccessful and remained enslaved by the Jesuits. Other descendants were sold in the 1838 sale to finance Georgetown University in Washington, DC. Mary Queen kept her story alive through word of mouth alone. This documentary honors her memory and explores the suppressed history of slavery in Maryland.
So far, we have raised close to $12,500! We have reached 50% of our goal.
We are seeking additional funds to cover production expenses and compensate the talented crew. Donations, partnerships, and sponsorships are welcome! Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Watch the teaser trailer
Watch our feature on FOX 5 DC
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: https://queenfamily.org)