Michelle Obama mentioned that slaves built the White House and the Fu News Moron crew goes crazy!
During her speech, Obama addressed the “shame of servitude,” referencing the history of American slavery. “I wake up every morning in a house that was built by slaves — and I watch my daughters — two beautiful, intelligent, black young women — playing with their dogs on the White House lawn. And because of Hillary Clinton, my daughters — and all our sons and daughters — now take for granted that a woman can be President of the United States.”
Gibson couldn’t take it, according to Fusion. “A couple relevant facts,” he began. “It was 1792. The land for the District of Columbia was ceded to the federal government by two slave states. Slaves lived in the area and were employed in building much of the capitol. What, then, is the purpose of appropriating the construction of the White House to black slave workers, neglecting to mention other workers?”
Slaves, of course, were never “workers” in the sense that they were paid a living wage, allowed to quit whenever they want, had rights and could go home at the end of a long day. The history of America was built on the forced migration and forced labor of people of color that were enslaved by wealthy whites. To associate it with free white workers diminishes the horror they faced.
Gibson says that there were just as many white workers as slaves working on the White House when it was constructed. That’s outright false. The White House Historical Association verifies that there were indeed white workers, but the vast majority of the workers were black people, who were both slave and free. This was in large part due to problems finding enough white workers willing and able to do the work.
Bad News Fau Moron…Slaves indeed built the white House, the Capital Building, and a number of other Government buildings in Washington, DC. Most of the skilled workers at that time were slaves.
Along with the Capitol and other iconic buildings in Washington, D.C.
…Up until a few decades ago, little attention was paid to looking into who actually laid the foundations and put up the walls of the White House. But what documentation exists today shows that many of Washington, D.C.’s most iconic government buildings, including the White House, were built by slaves.
In 2005, Congress put together a task force to shed light on the subject. After months of research, the commission announced that while it would never be able to tell the full story of the slaves who built these buildings, there was no doubt that they were intricately involved in the work, Alexander Lane reported for PolitiFact.
“Indifference by by earlier historians, poor record keeping, and the silence of the voiceless classes have impeded our ability in the twenty-first century to understand fully the contributions and privations of those who toiled over the seven decades from the first cornerstone laying to the day of emancipation in the District of Columbia,” Senate Historian Richard Baker and Chief of the House of Representatives Office of History and Preservation Kenneth Kato wrote in a foreword to the report.
From a geographical standpoint alone, it should come as no surprise that slave laborers were used to build the nation’s capital. Washington, D.C., was built on landed ceded to the federal government by Virginia and Maryland, and at the time the Potomac region was home to almost half of the country’s 750,000 slaves, Lane reports.
While the White House Historical Association reports that the D.C. commissioners originally tried to bring cheap workers over from Europe to build the new capital, their recruitment efforts fell short. As a result, they forced local slaves to provide the labor, often renting workers from their masters for year-long periods of time.
“Slaves were likely involved in all aspects of construction, including carpentry, masonry, carting, rafting, plastering, glazing and painting, the task force reported,” Lane writes. “And slaves appear to have shouldered alone the grueling work of sawing logs and stones.”
In addition to constructing the buildings, slaves also worked the quarries where the stones for the government buildings came from. Ironically, the Statue of Freedom that sits atop the Capitol dome was made with the help of Philip Reid, a man enslaved by sculptor Thomas Crawford, who was commissioned to build the statue. According to the Architect of the Capitol, Reid was paid $1.25 a day by the federal government for his contributions.
“There is no telling how many stories that have been lost because, as a country, we didn’t value these stories,” historian and reporter Jesse J. Holland tells Smithsonian.com. “We’re always learning more about the presidents as we go forward and we’ll also learn more about the people who cooked their meals and dressed them.”