“For too long, African
Americans struggled in the shadows of America. As slaves,
as sharecroppers, as the victims of Jim Crow, our ancestors
lived in this great nation, but we were never quite
part of it.”
John Lewis - November
Freedom for some meant slavery for others. The cruel
irony of this nation’s founding and its “Temple
of Liberty”—the U.S. Capitol— is that
both were made possible by the enslavement of African Americans.
labor of enslaved and free blacks helped build the Capitol.
An enslaved African American man helped to cast the Statue
which was placed atop the Dome during the Civil War.
the end of the Civil War, African Americans have struggled
to move out of the shadows and into the Temple of Liberty
as full participants. This exhibit is
the web version of a traveling exhibit by the U.S. Capitol
Historical Society that depicts the journey of African
Americans from slavery to freedom and political representation
in the U.S. Capitol. The exhibit opened February
2006 in Baltimore, Maryland at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum
of Maryland African American History and Culture.