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Rubenstein Center Scholarship

Enslaved Labor Used to Build the White House and the Capitol Building

This article is part of the Slavery in the President’s Neighborhood initiative. Explore the Timeline

This map illustrates the movement of enslaved laborers who were sent to Washington, D.C. to build the White House and the Capitol Building. Because the capital did not have a large population at the onset of the initial construction, the commissioners hired out enslaved people from a variety of slave owners in Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia. By conducting genealogical research, this map tracks the general location of the slave owners and where the enslaved people would have traveled from to work in the District. Although some locations are exact, most are estimated based on county and church and census records. Read the full article about building the White House here. This research is ongoing. If you have any additional information about anyone on this map, please reach out to