Tag Archives: white house

Slaves in the White House

From a very interesting article in the International Herald Tribune

“…Slaves who worked inside and outside the White House were known for their labors. Washington planner Pierre L’Enfant rented slaves from nearby slaveowners to dig the foundation for the White House, and White House designer James Hoben used some of his slave carpenters to build the White House.

President George Washington forced slaves from Mount Vernon to work as staff inside “the President’s House” in Philadelphia during his term, starting a tradition of enslaved men and women working for the president in his residence that would continue until the 1850s. Not only did they work in the White House, enslaved men and women lived there as well.

According to the White House Historical Association, the slave and servant quarters were in the basement, now called the ground floor. The rooms now include the library, china room, offices and the formal Diplomatic Reception Room. At least one African-American baby was born there, in 1806 to Fanny and Eddy, two of Jefferson’s slaves. The child, who was considered a slave too, died two years later.

History values these slaves for more than just their labor. Continue reading

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Retired Black White House Butler Talks About His Experience, Obama

Eugene Allen, 89, a retired White House butler, tries on his old tuxedo for a photo. Allen, who served eight presidents during a period when America ‘s racial history was being rewritten, is marveling at the election of Barack Obama.

The butler sees a new White House
Now retired, he started when blacks were in the kitchen.

By Wil Haygood LA Times November 7, 2008

Reporting from Washington — For more than three decades, Eugene Allen worked in the White House, a black man unknown to the headlines. During some of those years, harsh segregation laws lay upon the land.

He trekked home every night to his wife, Helene, who kept him out of her kitchen.

At the White House, he worked closer to the dirty dishes than to the Oval Office. Helene didn’t care; she just beamed with pride.

President Truman called him Gene. President Ford liked to talk golf with him. He saw eight presidential administrations come and go, often working six days a week.

“I never missed a day of work,” Allen said.

He was there while racial history was made: Brown vs. Board of Education, the Little Rock school crisis, the 1963 March on Washington , the cities burning, the civil rights bills, the assassinations.

When he started at the White House in 1952, he couldn’t even use the public restrooms when he ventured back to his native Virginia . “We had never had anything,” Allen, 89, recalled of black America at the time. “I was always hoping things would get better.”

In its long history, the White House — note the name — has had a complex and vexing relationship with black Americans.

“The history is not so uneven at the lower level, in the kitchen,” said Ted Sorensen, who served as counselor to President Kennedy. “In the kitchen, the folks have always been black. Even the folks at the door — black.”

Before Gene Allen landed his White House job, he worked as a waiter at a resort in Hot Springs , Va. , and then at a country club in Washington .

He and wife Helene, 86, were sitting in the living room of their Washington home. Her voice was musical, in a Lena Horne kind of way. She called him “Honey.” They met at a birthday party in 1942. He was too shy to ask for her number, so she tracked his down. They married a year later.

In 1952, a lady told him of a job opening in the White House. “I wasn’t even looking for a job,” he said. “I was happy where I was working, but she told me to go on over there and meet with a guy by the name of Alonzo Fields.” Continue reading

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McCain “Suspends” campaign, does some interviews, cancels on Letterman…what about Washington, John?

John McCain called Wednesday for the first presidential debate, scheduled for Friday in Mississippi, to be delayed (to Oct 2 in St. Louis from what Politico is saying…isn’t that supposed to be the VP debate date? Crafty, John, crafty. They would have to reschedule that too.) and urged Barack Obama to join him in Washington for a high-level meeting of congressional leaders to address the financial crisis. Obama responded that the debate should go on.

He also scrapped a planned appearance on David Letterman. Letterman was not having that. Um…did you not realize that he would see you taping an interview with Katie Couric after your girl, Sarah, tripped up and called our current economic mess what is really is…The Second Great Depression…2008 style?? Dumb. I agree with Letterman. You don’t suspend your campaign…you let your VP soldier on…oh wait…you can’t trust her. She can’t talk to the press without talking points. Oh well!

Meanwhile, President Bush has invited both men to come to the White House today for a summit meeting with congressional leadership. He needs to invite Warren Buffet (McCain suggested this…and I agree with him on that at least).

Obama rebuffed the proposal… “It’s my belief that this is exactly the time the American people need to hear from the person who in approximately 40 days will be responsible with dealing with this mess,” he told reporters in Florida, where he has been prepping for Friday’s event. “What I think is important is that we don’t suddenly infuse Capitol Hill with presidential politics,” he said.

He also took a real shot at McCain: “Presidents are going to have to deal with more than one thing at a time,” Obama said. “It’s not necessary for us to think that we can do only one thing, and suspend everything else.”

Multitasking, John. Multitasking!! You were in the military…Good Grief!

Debate organizers also said they have no plans to postpone. “We have been notified by the Commission on Presidential Debates that we are proceeding as scheduled,” said the University of Mississippi, which was to host Friday’s encounter. “We are ready to host the debate, and we expect the debate to occur as planned,” Ole Miss said in a statement. Continue reading

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Scott McClellan “hating on” Bush in his new book

LOL, I just love it when people act like they had nothing to do with a terrible situation when they were right in the midst of of. Scott…you were one of the main talking heads…the HEAD talking head when it came to the media. Now…years later you want to tell the truth? Well…thanks buddy! Thanks for lying to us and then writing about it. $$$ellout. Are you donating any of your book sales to veterans of the Iraq war?

Note to all you Politicos: Don’t tell the truth on the backend, be a whistle blower and help your fellow Americans. I’m sorry but blaming Bush is like blaming a 5 year old who’s mom dresses him funny. Sure he might want to wear that red and white stripped long sleeve shirt and pea green and orange pants, but mom and dad are supposed to bring guidance and direction. It’s a team effort.

Steve Holland / Reuters WASHINGTON – Former White House press secretary Scott McClellan charges in an explosive new book that President George W. Bush shaded the truth and manipulated public opinion to make the case for the “unnecessary” Iraq war.

McClellan, the first Bush insider to write a book criticizing his former boss and fellow Texan, drew instant condemnations on Wednesday from former White House colleagues who wondered why he stayed on the job.

“If he thinks he’s going to ingratiate himself to his critics, he’s sorely mistaken, and unfortunately, the only friends he had, he just lost,” said Dan Bartlett, who served as White House counselor.

McClellan, in “What Happened — Inside the Bush White House and Washington’s Culture of Deception,” presents himself as a one-time true Bush believer who mistakenly fell in line behind “the campaign to sell the war” in Iraq.

McClellan, who had argued strenuously from the White House podium on why the war was justified, wrote that the decision to go to war in Iraq was a “fateful misstep.”

“What I do know is that war should only be waged when necessary, and the Iraq war was not necessary,” he said.

McClellan called Bush “a man of personal charm, wit, and enormous political skill,” and “plenty smart enough to be president,” while sprinkling criticism of him throughout the 341-page book. Continue reading

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DC Black History: Easter Monday at the National Zoo

Yesterday, March 24th, 2008 Black families gathered at the National Zoo Monday for an Easter tradition. The Easter Monday event started in 1891 when blacks were not allowed to go to the White House Easter Egg Roll (until the Dwight Eisenhower presidency). It’s now called the The African American Family Celebration and has been a Washington-area multicultural tradition for many years. Visitors enjoy a variety of special family activities, including an Easter egg roll and hunt, crafts, and entertainment ranging from children’s dance troupes to costumed characters and storytellers.

Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 95, Box 35, Folder 19, Neg#  MAH-16831
Easter Monday at the National Zoo, 1900s

The annual Easter Egg Roll on Easter Monday at the National Zoological Park. At the top of the hill, the original 1891 Animal House, also known as the Lion House, designed by William R. Emerson is visible. By the turn of the century the National Zoological Park had become a popular spot to spend Easter Monday. Crowds spent the day seeing the animals, picnicking, and enjoying the Annual Easter Egg Roll on Lion and Tiger Hill, shown here. – Source

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Bill Clinton and Liberal Racism

There is nothing like a conservative voice…lol. I don’t always agree with what most conservatives…classic conservatives…say. However this conservative had some very interesting points to raise about Bill Clinton and Racist Liberals.

First Black Prez Turns out to be a Bigot

By Doug Patton on Jan 29, 08 (from The Conservative Voice)

This year, we have a black man, a white woman, a Mormon, a thrice-married Catholic and an ordained Baptist minister all running for president. What a country. Yes, we have really come a long way, baby.

Or have we?

The day after Barack Obama trounced Hillary Clinton in the South Carolina Democrat primary, her husband (our first “black” president) dismissed the victory by pointing out that Jesse Jackson won the same primary in 1984 and 1988. Following on the heels of previous attempts to inject racial politics into his wife’s fight for the Democrat presidential nomination, clearly, Bubba was doing his best to marginalize Obama’s candidacy by implying that Obama is the Jesse Jackson of 2008, a black candidate who has no chance of actually being elected.

Bill Clinton’s mentor was U.S. Senator J. William Fulbright, an Arkansas Democrat and a supporter of racial segregation. Fulbright signed the Southern Manifesto opposing the Supreme Court’s 1954 Brown vs. Board of Education decision, which declared the “separate but equal” doctrine for public schools unconstitutional. He joined with the Dixiecrats in filibustering the Civil Rights Acts of 1957 and 1964. And he voted against the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

This was Clinton’s mentor, his hero, his teacher. Fulbright’s party had been the party of racism, slavery and the Ku Klux Klan. Today’s Democrats like to believe this ugly side of their party is gone. The truth is that it is simply hidden beneath a shroud of liberal language and lofty sounding rhetoric, and Bill Clinton is Exhibit A in the Dems-R-Bigots party.

Former Klansman Robert Byrd, who served as the Democrat’s Senate Majority leader in the 1970s, still sits in the U.S. Senate.

When George H.W. Bush nominated Clarence Thomas to the U.S. Supreme Court, the most outwardly liberal members of the Senate pulled every dirty trick imaginable to derail the nomination. The racist tactics of the Democrat-controlled Senate Judiciary Committee, some members of which had trumped up false charges of sexual harassment against a good and decent man, were stunning. More stunning, however, were Thomas’s inspired words during his testimony. Continue reading

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Black Women Must Be Visible in this Election

Black Women Are Invisible This Election Season

By Carol Jenkins, Women’s Media Center.

Our national conversation is a messy collision of race and gender, with ageism and the questionable state of our media tossed in as collateral damage.

The 2008 presidential race is making us think hard on everything we thought we knew or felt about our country — and who we each are in it. But as an American woman of color, an African American, I don’t get the feeling too many others are giving much thought to my place.

For the record, women of color are in last place: at the bottom of the charts when it comes to wages (only 68 cents to the white male dollar); at the bottom of the charts in terms of political power (just 14 African American women in Congress, and that includes two non-voting members). We are more likely to die early from almost every disease. Finally, and disastrously for our interests, we remain the least seen and heard in this country, virtually non-existent in positions of power and visibility in media.

Last night on CNN, I participated in a discussion about the cross section of race and gender specifically — one precipitated by an OpEd written by one of the Women’s Media Center founders, Gloria Steinem. The piece, which ran in The New York Times on Monday, titled “Women are Never Front-Runners,” included one line that made some people in this country, including some of my friends (black and white), go nuts:

Gender is probably the most restricting force in American life, whether the question is who must be in the kitchen or who could be in the White House.

The OpEd rocketed through the country — indeed, the world — and our office was swamped with requests for statements, elaborations. That’s how I came to be in dialogue with Charles Ogletree, the esteemed Harvard Law professor who can claim credit for having taught both Barack Obama and Michele Obama a thing or two while they were his students.

The topic was, in the diluted form required by mass media: what’s worse — being black, or being a woman? My answer of course, was “Both. Imagine how I must feel.” The host, Rick Sanchez, said I couldn’t sit on the fence, I had to choose. Continue reading

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