Tag Archives: workers

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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DC: Smithfield Workers, the N-Word, and North Carolina relatives

Thousands of people in the Washington, DC area have ties to North Carolina, especially African Americans.  Many of our family members migrated to the region for better work opportunities and–at times–to escape abusive working conditions.   I was suprised to see this sign in the Gallery Place metro station today.  Well, maybe not suprised…I do come from an area of the midwest where meat packing plants thrive and I’ve heard about how conditions can be.  However, the allegations are just something you would never want to hear about taking place in 2008.  Beatings???  Being called the N-word by your manager???  Dag!  Supporters of the Justice@Smithfield campaign say that horrible conditions persist at the world’s largest hog processing plant, in Tar Heel, NC.

smithfield justice

“This summer, DC area families of Smithfield workers are beginning to reach back to their loved ones in Tar Heel, with a major advertising campaign spotlighting injuries and abuses at the plant. In late June, we will unveil a series of adverstisements in select metro stations and bus routes putting a human face on worker abuses at the plant, and urging DC area consumers to consider alternatives to Smithfield products in their local supermarkets. The campaign will also include radio advertisements and voice messages from movie star Danny Glover, which will air in Prince George’s County and the District of Columbia.” – www.smithfieldjustice.com – Click here to see the other 2 ads

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Filed under abuse, activism, african american, black, black women, chocolate city, d.c., media, n-word, news, opinion, race, why, women