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Thursday, New York Congressman Gary Ackerman (D-NY) released a statement asking President Obama to recognize the contributions of slaves who built the White House. This request comes two years after Congress acknowledged the efforts of those who worked tirelessly to build the Capital building with plaques in the new Emancipation Hall and the galleries outside of both the Senate and House chambers.

After one of his constituents urged him to look into the contribution of slaves in the construction of the White House, Rep. Ackerman said he found their omission to be offensive.

“It was a shameful omission that visitors to the Capitol could tour the building to learn its history but not learn that slave labor was used in its construction,” Rep. Ackerman said in a statement. “I’m proud Congress took action to correct this failure and I now urge the White House follow suit.”

Rep. Ackerman continued, “Slaves helped dig the foundation for the White House. 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.

“From the U.S. Capitol Building to the White House, our national symbols that represent freedom to so many of us, were built by people who were anything but free. While the larger injustice of slavery can never be adequately corrected, the continuing failure of properly informing visitors to Washington of the history of slaves building our national structures–including the White House–should be remedied.”

America has always had a complicated history with slavery. Although lawmakers have apologized for the practice of enslaving millions of people and treating their descendants as second-class citizens, they have failed to deal with many of the systematic effects of its racist system.

Will our Nation ever get it right when it comes to recognizing those who built it from the ground up? 

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  • Ketta

    If we’re recognizing the White House let’s recognize the backyard of my Grandma’s house. The cotton fields need to know that “slaves were here”. PLEASE! Can we spend tax dollars on after school enrichment programs instead of another memorial conveying entitlement.

    • Ketta

      Also, I’m assuming this is apart of the Forty Acres and a Mule program. Only without the acres and a mule.

    • I`am Not MADD

      Ketta,You kiss your mother with that mouth. Now run out and go get some merthamphetamine for your bad narcissistic self……!!!

    • TheBestAnonEver, Part 2

      How much exactly do you think this acknowledgment will cost tax payers? Are the younger generation getting more stupid or are the stupid ones commenting on blogs today?

    • Ketta

      @TheBestAnon any amount is too much because the concept of commemorating what has passed without it providing benefits for the future is a waste. I’ll compromise…let’s have an afterschool program where the children can make the plaques. We all win!

      P.S. I’m assuming you’re counting yourself in with the “stupid ones” since you are also commenting.

    • TheBestAnonEver, Part 2

      Fortunately, I am not “young”.

    • CC

      Ketta, do you have the disease called racism? African-Americans are entitled to recompense for their enslavement and relegation to the bottom of society.

  • I`am Not MADD

    HOT DAMN, JUST GOT TO LOVE Rep.Ackerman.

  • Sadly, the Obama Administration won’t do this, especially now during the re-election campain. They are already under water for this HHS decision, they are not about to do this. Obama needs to appeal to Everyone (“independent” whites) and he’s already being pigeonholed for being a lot of things he’s not, so I can imagine the backlash of his opponents and so called “liberal” whites if he did this….I wonder if he would consider it in his second term?

    I’m glad Ackerman brought this up tho because I heard some white liberal media host say, verbatim, that this country was built with “an ax and a bible” I had to laugh out loud at that..

  • Mr Jay

    How come they didn’t come up with all this BEFORE President Obama?

    • pink

      Mr.Jay because SOME people think the President was elected just to save, provide a job, a home, etc. JUST for black people. Of course I’m being facetious….but it appears that this wasn’t brought up, and most black people didn’t ask or demand this of any other President. If it was most of us didn’t hear about it. Believe me the President is quite aware of African Americans contributions to the country, and he’s also aware of (some) black folks plight. I say some because a lot of AAs are doing quite well. In short he can ony do so much.

    • Bisous

      took the words from mouth. I hate to be THAT kind of person, but it bothers me that this matter hasn’t surfaced until recently… Hopefully more acknowledgments and reparations will be broached with future presidents as well.

  • BlacknAmazed

    @Pink I’m sure you like Mr driving Ms. Daisy feel that AA history is American history. Then, Why are you viewing this dedication as only for black people? interesting and u r not funny. Try harder : )