Black Men Built the Capitol: Discovering African-American History in and around Washington, D. C.

Black Men Built the Capitol: Discovering African-American History in and around Washington, D. C.

by Jesse J. Holland


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Millions of people visit the National Mall, the White House, and the U.S.
Capitol each year. If they only hear the standard story, a big question remains:
“Where’s the black history?”

Packed with new information and archival photos, Black Men Built the Capitol answers this question. In this thoroughly researched yet completely accessible volume, Washington insider and political journalist Jesse J. Holland shines a light on the region’s African-American achievements, recounting little-known stories and verifying rumors, such as:

•   Enslaved black men built the Capitol, White House, and other important 

    Washington structures.

•   Philip Reid, a thirty-nine-year-old slave from South Carolina, cast and helped
save the model of the Statue of Freedom that sits atop the Capitol Dome.

•   The National Mall sits on the former site of the city’s most bustling slave market.

•   The grounds that are now Arlington National Cemetery were, from 1863 to
1888, a self-sustaining village for former slaves called the Freedman’s Village.

Included are hundreds of places in the District of Columbia, Maryland, and

Virginia that illuminate “the rest of the story” for Washington residents and visitors


Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780762745364
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
Publication date: 09/01/2007
Pages: 216
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Jesse Holland is an Associated Press reporter covering Congress and is extraordinarly well placed among Washington's black power elite--the political, legal, academic, and media communities. He took a year's sabbatical from the AP to conduct never-before-done research into the topics covered in this book.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents1. Introduction
2. Foreword
3. A Brief History of Washington, D.C.
4. The U.S. Capitol
5. The National Mall
6. Around Washington
7. Maryland
8. Virginia
9. Coming Soon
10. At A Glance
11. Bibliography

Chapter SummariesChapter 1 – Introduction
In the introduction, the author will introduce himself and illustrate the need for this book through personal anecdotes and stories from life in the Washington, D.C. political arena.

Chapter 2 – Foreword
The author expects to have this written by a prominent politician or historian who will extol the need for this book.

Chapter 3 – A Brief History of Washington, D.C.
The first chapter will set up the rest of the book, telling the history of the District of Columbia and the African American participation in the creation of the nation’s capital.

Chapter 4 – The U.S. Capitol (Chapter provided)

Chapter 5 – The National Mall
This chapter will take the reader through the rest of the African American contributions on the National Mall with the major sections featuring the White House, the Lincoln Memorial, the Tidal Basin and the Smithsonian Institution museums, as well as a tour of the locations of its now-dismantled slave markets and auction sites.

Chapter 6 – Around Washington
This will be one of the longer chapters in the book, featuring the rest of Washington, D.C.’s major African American tourism sites including lesser known sites like the Mary McCloud Bethune Statue in Lincoln Park (the first African American statue erected in Washington, D.C. and still the only one dedicated to an African American woman) and the Frederick Douglass Museum and Hall of Fame for Caring Americans (Douglass’s first home in Washington, D.C. and the former home of the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of African Art), as well as more famous sites like Douglass’s Cedar Hill home in Anacostia and the Anacostia Museum and Center for African American History and Culture.

Chapter 7 – Maryland
Washington, D.C.’s northeastern neighbor has plenty of African American heritage sites, which will be featured in this chapter. This chapter’s subjects will range from the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History & Culture in Baltimore to the Alex Haley statue in Annapolis Harbor marking the spot where Kunta Kinte first entered the United States, and from the Harriet Tubman Memorial Gardens in Cambridge to the real “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” in Bethesda.

Chapter 8 – Virginia
Virginia was the nation’s largest slaveholding state, leading to a treasure trove of African American historic sites around the region including Arlington National Cemetery, Mount Vernon, the home of George Washington and his slaves; Colonial Williamsburg with its reenactments of colonial slave life; and Jamestown, where the first African Americans were brought involuntarily to North America.

Chapter 9 – Coming Soon (Chapter provided)

Chapter 10 – At A Glance
This chapter will consist of a spreadsheet-style chart which will give readers the vital information they need to visit the attractions listed in BLACK MEN BUILT THE CAPITOL: address, telephone number, Web site, hours of operation, distance from Washington, D.C.(if applicable).

Chapter 11 – Bibliography
A list of resources used in writing this book, and additional reading material for those interested in knowing more about Washington, D.C.’s African American history.

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Black Men Built the Capitol: Discovering African-American History in and around Washington, D. C. 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
aaRC More than 1 year ago
It was full of things I did not know.
pokey939 More than 1 year ago
I highly recommend this book as further reading in Junior and High School as well as history major buffs who love to read about their Black culture during slavery. I was very impress with Mr. Holland's work being that he is not a DC native. I, on the other hand is a born and raise DC native and I never knew that my place of birth held deep, dark, disturbing history of how it treated human beings. A wonderful addition to those studying African American history while in school. As I remember only reading and hearing about Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad along with Frederick Douglas and other slaves; but never did my schools teach the class or allowed for the African American history class I was in to hear about DC being a slave state and the areas in which I have walked the pavement to shop, and now to work would I think that slaves built the Federal government buildings in which I have worked. An excellent must have and read book!!
manirul01 More than 1 year ago
Amazing.....!Excellent......!Just enjoy it.....!