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Memorial eyed for slaves who helped build Capitol
yahoo ^ | 2-28-06

Posted on 02/28/2006 7:19:56 PM PST by LouAvul

The statue crowning the U.S. Capitol is called "Freedom." Yet it was a black slave who figured out how to coax apart the 19½-foot, 15,000-pound plaster statue so it could be cast in bronze and rejoined atop the dome.

Slaves, in fact, helped build much of the building and grounds of Congress, their owners earning $5 per month for their work. Ed Hotaling, a retired TV reporter in Washington, was among the first to widely publicize this in a report in 2000.

Following Hotaling's lead, a task force is planning a permanent memorial to the hundreds of slaves who helped build the Capitol from the late 1700s until the mid-1800s. The group will make recommendations to House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., and Sen. Ted Stevens (news, bio, voting record), R-Alaska, president pro tempore of the Senate.

During February, Black History Month, task force members have been particularly focused on their role and have shared ideas by telephone as they prepare to meet.

The final cost and form of the memorial is still undetermined. It could be a site on the Capitol grounds or a living memorial such as an annual traditional African ceremony to honor the slaves.

"I don't think the story of the Capitol would be fully told until we have something depicting the lives of the people who helped build it," says Rep. John Lewis (news, bio, voting record), D-Ga., a student leader during the civil rights movement. Lewis and J.C. Watts, a Republican former member of Congress from Oklahoma, set up the task force.

Currie Ballard, a historian at Langston University in Oklahoma and a task force member who favors a living memorial, says it is fitting that the effort also inform people about the country's African- American heritage.

"It's so apropos that America says, 'Yes, a wrong has been committed, and let's educate people that black people have made a significant contribution to America,' " Ballard says.

Slavery in Washington was different from slavery in the rural South, says Walter Hill, senior archivist and African-American history specialist with the National Archives. Households had smaller groups of slaves, eight or nine, and the men and women often were skilled artisans. Owners hired out their slaves to earn money.

In the late 1700s, when a federal commission began planning to build the Capitol, it hired slaves to work alongside free black and white workers. The idea was to keep free workers from complaining about their conditions by bringing in competition, says historian Bob Arnebeck, an expert on the construction of the Capitol.

Decades later, Congress decided it wanted a Statue of Freedom placed atop a new Capitol dome, and commissioned Thomas Crawford, an American sculptor who lived in Rome, to create it.

Crawford initially wanted to model the statue's headdress after freed Roman slaves. But Jefferson Davis, the future president of the Confederacy who headed the construction of the Capitol as secretary of war, objected to the slavery reference. Crawford instead created a helmet with eagle head and feathers, according to the U.S. Capitol Historical Society.

Washington-area sculptor Clark Mills was hired to cast the statue - which arrived in five plaster parts from Italy - into bronze.

Mills' foundry foreman first put the plaster pieces together for exhibition, according to the Architect of the Capitol, but demanded more money to take it apart for the final casting. Mills refused and instead put Philip Reid in charge of the casting.

Reid was about 42, small in stature and respected for his work, according to C.R. Gibbs, a Washington historian. While working on the statue from 1860 to 1862, he figured out that by hooking a rope into an iron eye on its crown and instructing men to gently pull on it, the statue would come apart in its original sections, according to records at the Capitol.

Reid and others then were able to cast the parts in bronze.

In 1863, a year after President Lincoln freed Washington's slaves, the bronze parts were hoisted atop the Capitol and assembled. Some records indicate Reid played a role in that operation, too, although he would have been free by then.

Hotaling discovered the history of the slaves while researching the 200th anniversary of the Capitol.

"It was seeing history in the form of discarded old faded photostats lying on top of filing cabinets, and saying, 'My God, this is incredible. Why hasn't anybody done anything about it?' " Hotaling says.


TOPICS: Government; US: District of Columbia
KEYWORDS: 109th; americanhistory; blackhistorymonth; statue; uscapitol
"It's so apropos that America says, 'Yes, a wrong has been committed, and let's educate people that black people have made a significant contribution to America,' " Ballard says.

And how many times, and for how long, must we repeat it?

I, for one, never owned a slave and never shot an indian. Therefore, is it necessary for me to feel guilt?

1 posted on 02/28/2006 7:19:59 PM PST by LouAvul
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To: LouAvul

Remember "Pappy" Boyington first........

Failure to do so, means that anything else is "PC" Bravo Sierra.

FACT.


2 posted on 02/28/2006 7:24:04 PM PST by Howie66 ("America will never seek a permission slip to defend the security of our people.")
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To: LouAvul

The capitol is a memorial for those who built it. Put a plaque on it commemorating that fact. Enuf already!


3 posted on 02/28/2006 7:25:12 PM PST by texianyankee
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Comment #4 Removed by Moderator

Comment #5 Removed by Moderator

To: texianyankee
He's up to it again:

Commission to Study Reparation Proposals for African-Americans Act (Introduced in House)

HR 40 IH

109th CONGRESS

1st Session

H. R. 40

To acknowledge the fundamental injustice, cruelty, brutality, and inhumanity of slavery in the United States and the 13 American colonies between 1619 and 1865 and to establish a commission to examine the institution of slavery, subsequently de jure and de facto racial and economic discrimination against African-Americans, and the impact of these forces on living African-Americans, to make recommendations to the Congress on appropriate remedies, and for other purposes.

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

January 4, 2005

Mr. CONYERS (for himself, Ms. CORRINE BROWN of Florida, Mr. CLAY, Mr. DAVIS of Illinois, Ms. JACKSON-LEE of Texas, Ms. LEE, Mr. MEEK of Florida, Mr. NADLER, Mr. OLVER, Mr. PAYNE, Mr. RUSH, Mr. THOMPSON of Mississippi, Ms. WATERS, Mr. WATT, Mr. JACKSON of Illinois, Mr. MCDERMOTT, Mr. MEEKS of New York, Ms. MILLENDER-MCDONALD, Ms. NORTON, Mr. OWENS, Mr. RANGEL, Ms. SCHAKOWSKY, Mr. TOWNS, and Ms. WATSON) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary
6 posted on 02/28/2006 7:28:05 PM PST by Loud Mime (Republicans protect Americans from terrorists, Democrats protect terrorists from Americans)
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To: LouAvul
And how many times, and for how long, must we repeat it? I, for one, never owned a slave and never shot an indian. Therefore, is it necessary for me to feel guilt?

The world does the same with Germany. The sins of their mostrous 13-year-history (1932-45) will be visited on them and their entire progeny until time stops.
Mind you, Italy, Russia and Japan, lockstep with Hitler, have been forgiven already. But, the Germans will be punished forever.

YOU and we other non-minorities will be whipped forever for the sins of our ancestors. Never mind where the slave trade started, who the slaves got captured and sold BY or that the slave trade still exists, the sins SHALL be visited on the sons until time stops.

That's human nature. Racism, bigotry, that is, all elitism is a TWO-WAY STREET, but only to people with common sense, straight, clear thinking and a sense of justice.

7 posted on 02/28/2006 7:30:38 PM PST by starfish923 (Socrates: It's never right to do wrong.)
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To: LouAvul
OK. So slaves helped build monuments and buildings in WDC. This, of course, should be acknowledged in some appropriate manner (such as a plaque, monument, etc.).

Now, let's get on with the discussion about how Democrats are putting at risk our national security.

8 posted on 02/28/2006 7:32:01 PM PST by Mad_Tom_Rackham (A Liberal: One who demands half of your pie, because he didn't bake one.)
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To: William Creel

More salt on the wound, these race pimps/agitators wont stop. Maybe we should turn MLK day into African American Day and be done with it like they did GWashington and ALincoln birthdays... come on.. good enough for the white guys.... should be good enough for the AAs. Oh, wait dont they have a whole MONTH??? Geesh...


9 posted on 02/28/2006 7:34:15 PM PST by VastRWCon
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To: LouAvul

What was a 'slave'? I don't seem to remember that term in my lifetime? Was it from the medieval ages?


10 posted on 02/28/2006 7:35:25 PM PST by eeriegeno
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To: LouAvul

They have a whole shakedown memorial for black americans going next to the washington monument. They can put something there.

of course they will make it so that the ENTIRE original DC was made by slaves and abraham lincoln was whipping them with the help of George washington.


11 posted on 02/28/2006 7:37:06 PM PST by longtermmemmory (VOTE!)
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To: William Creel

I think we should build the memorial.

They we should build a memorial to the people who built it.

The people who build that memorial will get a plaque on the wall and a street named after them.


12 posted on 02/28/2006 7:39:48 PM PST by Sofa King (A wise man uses compromise as an alternative to defeat. A fool uses it as an alternative to victory.)
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To: William Creel

*Then we should build a memorial to the people who built it.


13 posted on 02/28/2006 7:40:24 PM PST by Sofa King (A wise man uses compromise as an alternative to defeat. A fool uses it as an alternative to victory.)
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To: LouAvul
"It was seeing history in the form of discarded old faded photostats lying on top of filing cabinets, and saying, 'My God, this is incredible. Why hasn't anybody done anything about it?' " Hotaling says.

What? You mean clean up the place?

14 posted on 02/28/2006 7:43:31 PM PST by yankeedame ("Oh, I can take it but I'd much rather dish it out.")
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To: Loud Mime

Time to hold the Rats feet to the fire.
At every turn, any Rat running for office should be asked a question like this:
"Senator Clinton, should blacks get reparations ?"


15 posted on 02/28/2006 7:43:42 PM PST by stylin19a (Do you still have sex or are you already playing golf?)
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To: Mad_Tom_Rackham
OK. So slaves helped build monuments and buildings in WDC. This, of course, should be acknowledged in some appropriate manner...

Why? Where do you draw the line? With what group? With what time frame/monument? IMHO this whole thing smacks of the implication that w/o slaves working on the monument [ oh, shades of "Ben Hur"!] it -- and just about everything else in this country -- would have never gotten built. That it was the slaves that found the straw for bricks.

16 posted on 02/28/2006 7:56:20 PM PST by yankeedame ("Oh, I can take it but I'd much rather dish it out.")
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To: LouAvul
"It's so apropos that America says, 'Yes, a wrong has been committed, and let's educate people that black people have made a significant contribution to America,' " Ballard says.

You've got a whole month that we patiently suffer through all that re-hashed doo-dah. STFU.

…he figured out that by hooking a rope into an iron eye on its crown and instructing men to gently pull on it, the statue would come apart in its original sections, according to records at the Capitol.

A genius, that one.

17 posted on 02/28/2006 8:06:49 PM PST by solitas (So what if I support an OS that has fewer flaws than yours? 'Mystic' dual 500 G4's, OSX.4.2)
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To: LouAvul

***"It's so apropos that America says, 'Yes, a wrong has been committed, and let's educate people that black people have made a significant contribution to America,' " Ballard says. ***

How about a memorial for those buildings built by freed slaves in Little Rock, Ark. that were destroyed to make room for X42's trailer house LIE-brary!


18 posted on 02/28/2006 8:09:40 PM PST by Ruy Dias de Bivar (Islam, the religion of the criminally insane.)
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To: yankeedame

I was referring to the constructions of the era which might have been produced using slave labor. I see no problem with acknowledging that.


19 posted on 02/28/2006 8:10:39 PM PST by Mad_Tom_Rackham (A Liberal: One who demands half of your pie, because he didn't bake one.)
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"In the late 1700s, when a federal commission began planning to build the Capitol, it hired slaves to work alongside free black and white workers."

Will these white workers be included??????


20 posted on 02/28/2006 8:23:37 PM PST by peggybac (Tolerance is the virtue of believing in nothing)
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To: stylin19a
At every turn, any Rat running for office should be asked a question like this: "Senator Clinton, should blacks get reparations ?"

GREAT IDEA!

21 posted on 02/28/2006 8:24:53 PM PST by Loud Mime (Republicans protect Americans from terrorists, Democrats protect terrorists from Americans)
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To: Loud Mime; stylin19a
At every turn, any Rat running for office should be asked a question like this: "Senator Clinton, should blacks get reparations ?"

GREAT IDEA!

I am with you both....GREAT idea. Why stop with Hillary. Let's get ~~all~~ the Dem POTUS wannabes on record. Cause an enormous amount of mischief inside their own politics and provide ammo to destroy, in the general election, anyone caught on video with the racial entitlement kool-aid at their lips!

22 posted on 02/28/2006 8:35:59 PM PST by LK44-40
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To: LouAvul
I, for one, never owned a slave and never shot an indian. Therefore, is it necessary for me to feel guilt?

My mother is Jewish, my father is Catholic. I have both guilts.

23 posted on 02/28/2006 8:38:14 PM PST by ExtremeUnction
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To: yankeedame

LOL That tickled my funny bone!


24 posted on 02/28/2006 8:40:18 PM PST by FoxInSocks
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To: LouAvul; TexConfederate1861; chesley; rustbucket; JamesP81; LeoWindhorse; groanup; NerdDad; ...
Slavery in Washington was different from slavery in the rural South, says Walter Hill

The elitism never ends.

25 posted on 02/28/2006 8:46:12 PM PST by stainlessbanner (I miss Mayberry)
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To: All
They wanted to outsource to (ILLEGAL?) migrant labor! :>)

"The D.C. commissioners, charged by Congress with building the new city under the direction of the president, initially planned to import workers from Europe to meet their labor needs. However, response to recruitment was dismal and soon they turned to African Americans – slave and free – to provide the bulk of labor that built the White House, the United States Capitol, and other early government buildings."

http://www.whitehousehistory.org/05/subs/05_c.html

"Often working seven days a week during the high construction summer months alongside white workers and artisans, black laborers proved vital to the work force that created both the White House and U.S. Capitol."

Wot?!

White workers?

26 posted on 02/28/2006 9:40:18 PM PST by WilliamofCarmichael (Hillary is the she in shenanigans.)
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To: stainlessbanner

"Slavery in Washington was different from slavery in the rural South, says Walter Hill"

But, but everybody knows that the North invaded the South to free the slaves!!!!!! How could there be slaves in the North!


27 posted on 02/28/2006 9:51:43 PM PST by swmobuffalo (the only good terrorist is a dead one)
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To: peggybac

If you "hired" slaves doesn't that imply that they were paid?
When we took the children to see the C&O Canal we were told about the enormous number of raw immigrants who sacrificed their lives to build it. They weren't paid enough to live healthy lives, etc., etc. When asked whether slaves were used the lecturer said, "Oh, no, slaves were worth too much to be used". Immigrants, largely Irish, were cheap and expendable, fresh groups came over on every ship.

Has anyone seen a monument to the immigrants sacrificed for the canal?


28 posted on 03/01/2006 4:32:44 AM PST by Spirited
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