The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release
Contact: Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167

New President's House Exhibit Includes Slavery


The Philadelphia Inquirer writes:
"After more than eight years of street demonstrations, arguments,
haggling, and missed deadlines; after unprecedented public debate about
the impact of slavery on life in Philadelphia and the United States and
on the life and moral character of George Washington; after thousands of
news articles, feature stories, and TV and radio programs, the site
marking the intertwined lives of presidents and slaves is set to open to
the public with a simple ribbon-cutting at noon Wednesday."

Lusane is author of the new book The Black History of the White House
and an associate professor at American University. He said today: "The
opening of the new exhibit 'President's House: Freedom and Slavery in
Making a New Nation' at Philadelphia's Liberty Bell Center pavilion in
Independence Park is an opportunity to highlight the long history and
contemporary status of race relations in the United States. As Tea Party
activists shout their determination to take the country back, in many
instances, what they really want to do is take the country backwards.
They yearn for a mythical period before the 1960s -- for some, this
means the 1860s -- when the nation supposedly had little racial,
economic, or social conflict. The President's House exhibit, however,
demonstrates that from the very founding of the nation, in the most
famous home in the country, there existed a contradiction between the
stated principle of freedom and the reality of millions in slavery. As
Obama noted in his renowned speech in the city during the campaign,
'[W]e do need to remind ourselves that so many of the disparities that
exist in the African-American community today can be directly traced to
inequalities passed on from earlier generations that suffered under the
brutal legacy of slavery and Jim Crow.'"

A nationwide consortium, the Institute for Public Accuracy (IPA) represents an unprecedented effort to bring other voices to the mass-media table often dominated by a few major think tanks. IPA works to broaden public discourse in mainstream media, while building communication with alternative media outlets and grassroots activists.