Little Known Black History Fact: Horace King

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  • Horace King was an Alabama slave and architect who built the biggest American bridges in the mid 1800’s. His work is still present in the amazing spiraling staircases of the Alabama State Capital. King built a number of massive bridges crossing the Chattahoochee River Valley.

    King was African & Native American. He was purchased by construction company owner, John Godwin, and taken to north Alabama. King worked his first construction project in 1824, which was the first bridge to connect Georgia and Alabama. He was made superintendent at Godwin’s company in 1840. Together, King and Godwin constructed major bridges in Alabama, Georgia and Mississippi.

    In 1849, three years after he had bought his freedom, King was asked to reconstruct the Alabama State Capital building that burned down. In addition to the framework, King constructed the double spiraling staircases, making them appear to float without support.

    As a slave in the South, it was natural that King would want an end to slavery. But with a well-admired skill, the Confederacy forced him to build blocks in the River to prevent a naval attack by Union forces. He was also asked to construct naval vessels for the Confederacy. However, much of King’s work was destroyed in the war.

    Hoping to make a change, King turned his head to politics where he served as a representative in the Alabama House of Representatives. His proposed Freedmen’s colony was unsuccessful and any bill he tried to present was shot down. The only bill that passed was in favor of alcohol prohibition in 1871.

    King lived out his days building cotton mills and warehouses in the South. He died in 1858 and his children took over his business.
     

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    4 thoughts on “Little Known Black History Fact: Horace King

    1. I love reading about my ancestors who have since the dawn of time been trail blazers, outstanding individuals and blessed with so many gifts and talents. It is sickening to think about who much African Americans have always contributed to the foundation of our nation, but how some white folks have always taken the credit or tried to take the credit for what the blacks have done and do. Not all white folks have done wrong to African Americans, but more than enough have. But I thank my ancestors and white’s who have helped and supported African Americans. We are trail blazers!!!!!!!

    2. Thank you so much for this column. The contributions of Blacks to this country has been swept under the rug so often, on the surface it appears as if we did nothing but make this place a more negative place to be. Not so, we not only made contributions like Mr. King, we raised their children, and made it possible for whites to have a livelihood. Yes, we were exploited, which only proves that we are a people with much to give. Who else but people with something to give are exploited? I fear that in my lifetime, I may not see it, but I sure am praying everyday for a better day for my grandchildren and so on. Another term of Obama would sure be a good start.

    3. Thank you so much for this column. The contributions of Blacks to this country has been swept under the rug so often, on the surface it appears as if we did nothing but make this place a more negative place to be. Not so, we not only made contributions like Mr. King, we raised their children, and made it possible for whites to have a livelihood. Yes, we were exploited, which only proves that we are a people with much to give. Who else but people with something to give are exploited? I fear that in my lifetime, I may not see it, but I sure am praying everyday for a better day for my grandchildren and so on. Another term of Obama would sure be a good start.

    4. I am humbled by the contributions and sacrifices our forefathers like Mr. King made. This a prime example of how Blacks have been exploited for the benefit of white people and hated at the same time because of the color of their skin. This is perversion. The number one way to overcome these adversities is to put people in government who will not allow racism to prevail and contaminate this nation.

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