Congressman Fattah Salutes President's House Freedom and Slavery Site

Dec 15, 2010, 16:17 ET from Office of Congressman Chaka Fattah

WASHINGTON, Dec. 15, 2010 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Congressman Chaka Fattah (D-PA) issues the following statement in conjunction with dedication ceremonies today at Philadelphia's Independence Mall for the President's House: Freedom and Slavery in the Making of a New Nation.

Congressman Fattah sponsored legislation passed by Congress to instruct the National Park Service to "appropriately commemorate" the historic site and the nine enslaved workers who labored there. Fattah, supported by Congressman Bob Brady (D-PA), secured $3.6 million in federal funds for construction of what is believed to be the first federal monument dedicated to America's enslaved.

"Today's opening of the President's House: Freedom and Slavery in the Making of a New Nation is more than the celebration of another monument at the place where America was born. This site recognizes that enslaved Africans were at the center of American history performing an uncommon, unrecognized and indispensible role in the creation of this great nation.

"The President's House focuses on the lives of Presidents George Washington and John Adams who made their home here in the nation's first executive mansion. Equally important, it brings into focus the lives and names, chiseled in granite, of nine men, women and teenagers enslaved to George Washington: Austin, Christopher, Giles, Hercules, Joe, Moll, Oney Judge, Paris and Richmond, who lived and worked here as well. They are the bridge from the President who owned humans of African descent to our President today, a man of African descent.

"We are a diverse nation, drawn from many races, ethnicities and faiths. Visitors to the site, coming from all our diversity, will have a better understanding of the glaring contradiction between the fight for America's freedom and the entrapment of African slaves. It is a visual history lesson designed to inspire examination of a dark period in our nation's history, as well as inspiring our hope and vision for true freedom. I am proud to have been a part in the creation and construction of this important memorial."

SOURCE Office of Congressman Chaka Fattah