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Paul Jennings (Mid-Nineteenth Century)

The Estate of Sylvia Jennings Alexander

Although many people think of the White House as a symbol of democracy, it is also a part of our country’s history of slavery. From the start of White House construction in 1792 until emancipation took effect in Washington, D.C. in 1862, enslaved men, women, and children labored at the Executive Mansion. The stories of these individuals, working under the oppressive institution of slavery in the “People’s House,” demonstrate a stark contrast to the ideals of freedom and democracy that the White House has long represented.

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