During the opening ceremonies Monday at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, First Lady Michelle Obama mentioned in her speech that the White House was built by slaves. A growing number of skeptics attempted to discredit Mrs. Obama’s remarks, but the story has been verified several times over by historians in recent times.
According to a report by the Smithsonian Institute, the donated federal land that would eventually become Washington, D.C. was nestled between the slave states of Maryland and Virginia. In fact, more than half of the country’s enslaved Blacks lived in the region thus making up much of the labor force.
While slaves didn’t explicitly construct the White House, they were instrumental in supplying much of the material used by Scottish masons to complete the building’s construction. Along with a collective of free Blacks, white European immigrants and white laborers, the group of workers used hand shovels and a Virginia rock quarry that would shipped to the masons.
In fact, many of Washington, D.C.’s buildings and structures were similarly built and was the subject of journalist Jesse Holland’s book, “The Invisibles: The Untold Story of African-American Slaves in the White House” which was released this year.
Mr. Holland has confirmed in recent articles that while records of workers on these job sites were typically poor, what has been discovered is that slaves were an integral part of construction in the region.