Tuesday, March 1, 2011

White House and Capitol Built by $5 a Month Slaves


To most Americans, the White House and the Capitol building are mighty symbols of the freedoms they hold most dear. But two centuries after George Washington established the nation's capital, Americans have discovered that most of the labourers who built these monuments to American greatness were black slaves.

US Capitol 1790 Drawing

To most Americans, the White House and the Capitol building are mighty symbols of the freedoms they hold most dear. But two centuries after George Washington established the nation's capital, Americans have discovered that most of the labourers who built these monuments to American greatness were black slaves.

US Capitol 1865

The revelation has come not from historians, but from a local television reporter, who unearthed payslips dating back 200 years. He found that 400 of the 600 workers whose sweat and toil built the White House and the Capitol were slaves, and that their wages were stolen by their owners.

[The wages weren't actually "stolen" per-say, blacks just worked for 300 years without ANY remuneration, compensation. No money, no thanks for making me rich off of your unpaid labor cards, nothing. Nada, zilch, nothing. Just work and die, you slave. That's what being born a slave in the USA was.]


The payslips, dating from 1792 to 1800, were unearthed from the archives of the Treasury Department. Further research has shown slave labour was used until the completion of the Capitol building in the 1860s; Britain had abolished all slavery in 1833. Slavery was banned in Washington in 1865.
[The author is from the United Kingdom, so we'll forgive him for not having the correct dates, since the Bill to emancipate slaves in the District: Passes the Senate, April 6, 1862. However, the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution that ended US enslavement, with the exception of prison labor loophole was in 1865]

The reporter, Edward Hotaling, came across the records while researching the 200th anniversary of the White House and the Capitol. Each payslip bore the name of the plantation owner, the slave and the wages paid to the owner: $5 a month.

A campaign has now been launched to install a memorial to the slaves who put up the buildings, led by two blackCongressmen, J C Watts, aRepublican, and John Lewis, a Democrat .

Mr Watts said: "Up until now, few have known of the extraordinary contributions made by African-Americans in the building of our US Capitol. It's time the role AfricanAmerican slaves played be fully realised, and they be given the honourable recognition that they deserve."

Mr Lewis added: "Who were these men who worked here? What happened to them?"

Congressman Tony Hall, a Democrat, who is white, said:"The government has never really apologised for slavery. With the Civil War, with all that President Abraham Lincoln achieved, and with the civil rights movement's successes, I found that hard to believe."

2 comments:

  1. Thanks , just found out , now we have a Black man , woman and children living in the White House , as President , still feels like a dream , my sites - www.danceenterprise.co.uk . www.danceenterprise.com

    ReplyDelete
  2. Interesting. In 1860, Abraham Lincoln was elected President on an abolitionist ticket. In 1862, he signed the emancipation proclamation, freeing the slaves. Yet, in 1865, 2/3 of the labor force working on the capitol building were slaves? Does that make Lincoln a "do as I say, not as I do" sort of president? With respect to the White House, it was first built between 1792 and 1800. After it was burnt by the British during the War of 1812, it was rebuilt between 1814 and 1829. Which era did those pay stubs belong to?

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