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John Mercer Langston

In 2021, the Arlington County Board voted to change the name of Lee Highway, named after Confederate General Robert E. Lee, to Langston Boulevard in honor of John Mercer Langston, the first Black congressman from Virginia.1 Langston’s work as a civil rights activist led to several federal appointments by United States presidents and multiple White House visits. John M. Langston’s ad


George DeBaptiste

President William Henry Harrison’s famously brief month-long tenure at the White House makes it difficult to research the inner workings of the Executive Mansion during his administration, and an 1858 fire at his family’s home in North Bend, Ohio, destroyed many documents related to this particular period of Harrison’s life.1 However, obituaries and recollections reveal a fascinating individual who wo


The Tale of Two White Houses: Espionage during the Civil War

In the nineteenth century, two mansions sitting approximately one hundred miles apart were both called the “White House.” The White House in Washington, D.C., was constructed to serve as the executive seat for the President of the United States. During the War of 1812, British troops burned the building but it was quickly rebuilt and re-occupied by 1817. The following year, a sm