The contributions of enslaved Americans that built this country are so immense and unrecognized that it’s quite unbelievable. But, one congressman wants to clear up any confusion or misunderstanding of the facts; one fact being that the White House was built by enslaved Africans.
A couple years ago Congress finally gave recognition to the enslaved Africans that built the United States Capitol because of a crusade led by civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) Now Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-N.Y.) is calling on President Obama to do the same for the White House. There are plaques in the hallway outside the Senate and House chambers that recognize the work that the enslaved had done to complete the Capitol.
According to the Huffington Post, last week Ackerman made it plain in a letter to the White House:
“Slaves helped dig the foundation for the White House,” Ackerman wrote in a letter to the White House Thursday. “They quarried stone that would be used for the walls, dug up clay for thousands of bricks, cut timber, sawed lumber, and performed carpentry inside the White House. Even after White House construction was completed, slaves continued to support White House operations. Slaves served in White House domestic staff from 1800 through the Civil War.”
Ackerman, you make a good point! Read the full report and letter here.