Slave passage found under Washington

PHILADELPHIA - Archaeologists unearthing the remains of George Washington's presidential home have discovered a hidden passageway used by his nine slaves, raising questions about whether the ruins should be incorporated into a new exhibit at the site.

The underground passageway is just steps from the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall. It was designed so Washington's guests would not see slaves as they slipped in and out of the main house.

"As you enter the heaven of liberty, you literally have to cross the hell of slavery," said Michael Coard, a Philadelphia attorney who leads a group that worked to have slavery recognized at the site. "That's the contrast, that's the contradiction, that's the hypocrisy. But that's also the truth."

No votes yet

It doesn't say WHY they are digging up his home - wonder why? I'd think that it'd be something they'd want to preserve.

Yeah, I read that part - but was his house in such horrible shape they couldn't have preseved it?

"The excavation was planned to clear the site in order to lay the foundations for a memorial pavilion to the presidential house and its occupants, including the enslaved Africans. Intended to be completed in time for Philadelphia

The house was demolished in the nineteenth century. Only the foundations remain today.

In 1832, the building was gutted, leaving only the side walls and the foundations, and three narrow stores were built within the same Market Street frontage. These original side walls of the house were exposed when the stores themselves were demolished in 1935, but no one recognized them for what they were. Most of the western wall was removed by 1941, and what remained of it along with the eastern wall were demolished in 1951 to create Independence Mall.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.