Black Men Built the Capitol: Discovering African-American History In and Around Washington, D.C.External image by Jesse J. Holland
Millions of people visit the National Mall, the White House, and the U.S. Capitol each year. If they only hear the standard story, a big question remains: “Where’s the black history?”
Packed with new information and archival photos, Black Men Built the Capitol answers this question. In this thoroughly researched yet completely accessible volume, Washington insider and political journalist Jesse J. Holland shines a light on the region’s African-American achievements, recounting little-known stories and verifying rumors, such as:
- Enslaved black men built the Capitol, White House, and other important Washington structures.
- Philip Reid, a thirty-nine-year-old slave from South Carolina, cast and helped save the model of the Statue of Freedom that sits atop the Capitol Dome.
- The National Mall sits on the former site of the city’s most bustling slave market.
- The grounds that are now Arlington National Cemetery were, from 1863 to 1888, a self-sustaining village for former slaves called the Freedman’s Village.
Included are hundreds of places in the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia that illuminate “the rest of the story” for Washington residents and visitors alike.