Lafayette Park is a place where many influential protests for social justice have taken place. It has been, and continues to be, a focal point for the expression of American ideals. Inspired by the First Amendment, citizens continue to exercise their rights of free speech here, using Lafayette Park as their stage and the White House as their valued audience.
A Tempest in a Teapot › The Depriest Tea Incident
First Lady Lou Hoover's invitation to Jessie L. DePriest to a White House tea party in 1929 created a storm of protest and indignation. The story of Oscar and Jessie DePriest highlights the courage and contributions of Oscar Stanton DePriest, the sole black voice in Congress at that time, to the history of social justice and the American civil rights struggle and the grace and poise of his wife who ably represented a generation of black women.
"The Half Had Not Been Told Me" › African Americans in Lafayette Square, 1795-1965
Lafayette Square—known first as President's Square—is a landscape with a rich and varied African-American history. Prior to emancipation, both free and enslaved African-Americans lived and worked on the Square.
White House History › The Washington of Paul Jennings [PDF]
White House Slave, Free Man and Conspirator for Freedom, African-American servant to James Madison, Paul Jennings, wrote one of the very first White House memoirs: "A Colored Man's Reminiscences of James Madison." Photo courtesy of Sylvia Jennings Alexander Estate
Educational School Field-Trip Programs ›
Paths to Freedom: Slavery, Emancipation and the Power of the President ... Paths to Freedom field trip program while students recreate the events surrounding the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation. Each student researches and acts the part of an historic character from the 1860s and traces President Abraham Lincoln's steps as he considered emancipation and its alternatives. These scenes are videotaped and transferred to a DVD for the class to keep.
African Americans in the White House Neighborhood ... Students explore the history of Lafayette Square, its evolution from residential neighborhood to federal enclave through perspectives of the African American community, free and enslaved, and the interactions of the communities –white and black – in the President's Neighborhood.