Michelle Obama’s assertion that slaves built the White House doesn’t tell the whole story.
Historical facts clearly indicate that the White House was built by a very diverse group, including black slaves, non-slave blacks and white immigrants (Irish, Scots-Irish, Scots, English and Scandinavians). Black slaves did constitute much of the unskilled workforce.
The skilled workforce was primarily composed of free blacks and white immigrants. Furthermore, the unskilled black slaves that quarried stone for the White House were trained by European stone masons.
It is very unfortunate that Michelle Obama made this remark because it obscures the ethnic complexity of the actual historic activity.
Jonathan Walker, Ph.D.
Coral Reef Drive