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The White House Was, in Fact, Built by Slaves

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smithsonian.com

July 26, 2016
Earliest known photograph of the White House. The image was taken in 1846 by John Plumbe during the administration of James K. Polk. (Library of Congress/John Plumbe)
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When First Lady Michelle Obama took the stage during the first night of the Democratic National Convention, she talked about how it felt to be a black woman waking up in the White House every morning—a building constructed with slave labor. It was a powerful moment in her speech, hearkening back to the generations of African-Americans forced into bondage in this country. 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…

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