5 American Structures Existing Today Built By Slave Labor

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The White House

Jesse J. Holland, author of “Black Men Built The Capitol: Discovering African-American History in and Around Washington, D.C.” revealed that enslaved African men helped construct the White House. The designer Pierre L’Enfant commissioned the captured Africans from their slave-holders, while the architect James Hoban brought some of his own enslaved men.

Evidence confirming the long-held belief was made public in 2008, when the U.S. National Archives exhibited government pay records from more than 200 years ago.

The historic payroll, listing the workers only by first name, revealed that both enslaved and free Africans worked alongside white laborers to cut sandstone at the quarry in Aquia, Va. They also dug the footings for the White House, built the foundations, and fired bricks for the interior walls. Payment was not received by the enslaved Blacks, but was paid to the slave-holders.

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