The Black History of the White House

The Black History of the White House

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"The ugly truth about the White House and its history of slavery."

"I'm glad that she mentioned the role of enslaved Americans at the White House, because she presented a larger audience with a history that most people are not being taught in our schools," Lusane, also a professor emeritus at American University, told The Washington Post. "I certainly wasn't taught that not only were many of our presidents slave owners, but that the most renowned building in our nation was, in part, built by slave labor."

-The Washington Post Jul 27, 2016

"Clarence Lusane featured on Democracy Now"

Clarence Lusane, author of The Black History of the White House, on Democracy Now discussing why knowledge of the stories of slaves who were owned by--and labored for--past presidents is an essential topic for discussion on President's Day.

-Democracy Now Feb 17, 2014

"Missing From Presidents Day: The People They Enslaved" by Clarence Lusane

Clarence Lusane, author of The Black History of the White House, shares his most recent essay

-Clarence Lusane, The Zinn Education Project Feb 13, 2014

Interview on NPR's Morning Edition

 "Clarence Lusane, author of The Black History of the White House and chairperson of Howard University's political science department, says slave laborers who built the White House were both skilled and unskilled. Carpentry work, for example, was skilled, he tells Morning Edition's Renee Montagne, but 'a lot of it was just hard, intense manual labor, often done under punishing weather conditions.'"

Jul 28, 2016

"Clarence Lusane interviewed about the film 'The Butler' "

 Clarence Lusane, author of The Black History of the White House, discusses the accuracy of Oprah's and Forest's new film, "The Butler." 

-Anetra Gaines, WUSA9 Aug 16, 2013

"Buying Freedom Through Dressmaking"

"The new movie 'Lincoln' explores the last months of Abraham Lincoln's life and sheds light on prominent figures of the time. One lesser-known person is former slave Elizabeth Keckley. She became a close confidante to Mary Todd Lincoln. Host Michel Martin speaks with professor Clarence Lusane about Keckley's contributions to American history."

-Michel Martin, NPR Dec 5, 2012

Clarence Lusane, author, "The Black History of the White House"

Watch Clarence Lusane, author of The Black History of the White House, discuss the origins of his recently published work about the contributions which both black men and women have made throughout the White House's history.

-C-Span, YouTube Aug 29, 2011

The Black History of the White House

Clarence Lusane, author of The Black History of the White House, discusses the book, race, politics and US history on The Voice of Russia.

-Ricardo Young, The Voice of Russia Jul 4, 2011

Why Herman Cain will not become president

"Don't purchase your tickets to a Herman Cain inaugural ball just yet.

In a dismal Republican field for the 2012 presidential nomination, the former CEO of Godfather Pizza has often done better in straw polls and at debates than his more well-known challengers. A recent poll from Iowa showed him coming in third behind former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann."

-Clarence Lusane, The Progressive Jun 29, 2011

The Black History of the White House

"Clarence Lusane presents a history of African-Americans and the White House. Mr. Lusane reports that 25% of American Presidents were slave holders and recalls the many slaves who worked at the White House such as those who assisted in its construction. His history also includes the African-American men and women who were employed at the White House in the 20th century, including the first black secret service agent, Abraham Bolden. Clarence Lusane presents his book at the Harlem Library in New York City." Apr 13, 2011

African-Americans and the White House

"The White House is a symbol of American power all over the world. But for many African-Americans, this most famous of American homes also represents a rarely discussed history of exclusion and inequality. Rebecca Sheir talks with Clarence Lusane, author of The Black History of the White House, about the ties between the White House and people of African descent, from the slaves and servants who worked there, to the activists who visited in the name of social and racial justice." Apr 8, 2011

SCOTUS Update; Calif. Ed. Report; Black History of White House

Barack Obama may be the first African-American to become president of the U.S., but the White House has a long and complicated history with black Americans. Dr. Clarence Lusane, an associate professor of political science at American University, chronicles much of that history in the new book The Black History of the White House. He discusses how the relationship of the black community to the White House has evolved from the presidency of George Washington to the present day.

Interview begins around 35 minutes.

-The Michael Eric Dyson Show, Mar 14, 2011

New America Now

Listen to Clarence Lusane's podcast at New America Now, Clarence's interview starts about 34 minutes into the show.

-New America Now, Feb 25, 2011

White House, Black History

"Did you know that George Washington schemed around a Pennsylvania law that would have forced him to free some of his slaves — or that Herbert Hoover demanded that White House servants hide when he walked by? Two new books explore the long, complex relationship between African Americans and the White House. They include stories of when slaves laid the foundation of the new presidential residence in Washington as well as how blacks interact with those they served at the White House."

-Michel Martin, Tell Me More Feb 21, 2011

Positively Obama: Living with Black History in the White House

"'The White House has always reflected the paradoxes, contradictions, conflicts that have existed in the country as a whole,' said Clarence Lusane, author of 'The Black History of the White House' and an associate professor of political science at American University.

“'While we have always thought of it as the iconic embodiment of American democracy and American freedom, in fact it embodies both freedom and slavery, democracy and undemocratic practices that have impacted on the people of this country. Those of us who grew up here and were taught American history, we were never given that kind of broader perspective that perhaps the White House as a symbol may embody some contradictions.'"

-Steven Barboza, The Atlanta Post Feb 8, 2011

The 'Black History' Of America's White House

"For many Americans, the White House stands as a symbol of liberty and justice. But its gleaming facade hides harsh realities, from the slaves who built the home to the presidents who lived there and shaped the country's racial history, often for the worse. In 'The Black History of the White House,' Clarence Lusane traces the path of race relations in America by telling a very specific history — the stories of those African-Americans who built, worked at and visited the White House."

-Mary Louise Kelly, Feb 3, 2011

Race relations and the White House

"It is heralded as the 'people's house' but for the past two centuries the White House has shared America's tumultuous history when it comes to race. From serving as slaves to assuming the highest office in the land blacks have always played a role at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Katty Kay talks to author Clarence Lusane, who has chronicled the evolving roles in his book 'The Black History of the White House.'"

-Katty Kay, BBC World News America Jan 28, 2011

Dr. Clarence Lusane - The Black History of the White House

"In a new book entitled, 'The Black History of the White House,' American University professor Dr. Clarence Lusane explores the untold contributions of African Americans in the White House, from the generations of enslaved people who helped to build it or were forced to work there, to its first Black first family, the Obamas."

-The Tavis Smiley Show Jan 28, 2011

New podcast posted: Interview with author Clarence Lusane

"On this episode we play our interview with historian Clarence Lusane, author of 'The Black History of the White House' from City Lights Press."

-Combined Sources, Political Affairs Jan 24, 2011

Unsung Heroes: Clarence Lusane, 'The Black History of the White House,' at Politics & Prose

"Parker's heroic actions, meanwhile, were quickly scrubbed from the official record. His story is one of many unearthed by American University professor Clarence Lusane in 'The Black History of the White House' ($20, City Lights), a look at African Americans as slaves, cooks, designers, builders, performers, officials and — ultimately — President."

-Stephen M. Deusner, Washington Post Express Jan 24, 2011

Reject the Confederacy, Celebrate Reconstruction

"While arguments about the war generate fierce debate, the period following the Civil War, known as Reconstruction, remains virtually unknown to large portions of the American public. Few university students, let alone your average citizen, can identify the time period, Reconstruction leaders, its accomplishments, or reasons for its collapse. And yet, it is the era that some have referred to as the country's greatest moment of democracy and it should be taught and remembered and, unlike the Confederacy, honored."

-Clarence Lusane, PowellsBooks.Blog Jan 18, 2011

Restoring the White House to Its True Colors

"In his new book, The Black History of the White House, Clarence Lusane, political science professor in the School of International Service, traces the ways in which slavery, emancipation, racial violence, and civil rights have shaped the U.S. presidency. From slaves and servants to the first black Secret Service agent to work at the White House, Lusane gives voice to those whose stories have been excluded from the history books."

-Adrienne Frank, American Today Jan 14, 2011

"On With Leon" XM-Sirius

Clarence Lusane is interviewed by Wilmer Leon, "On With Leon" XM-Sirius

-Wilmer Leon, On with Leon Jan 8, 2011

Listen to Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network, with Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey

"Protection of the institution of slavery was the price the South demanded for joining the United States in the revolt against Britain, and the North was also 'absolutely invested in the slave system,' says Dr. Clarence Lusane. Dr. Lusane's new book, from City Lights Publishers, details George Washington’s desperate efforts to gain the return of his prized personal slaves who successfully fled the presidential residence in Philadelphia."

-Glen Ford, Black Agenda Radio on PRN Jan 4, 2011

2011 Economy; Don't Ask, Don’t Tell; Philly’s President’s House

"Earlier this month, the city of Philadelphia opened 'The President's House,' the first national memorial dedicated to the history of enslaved Africans. The memorial and the accompanying exhibition, subtitled 'Freedom and Slavery in the Making of a New Nation,' highlights George Washington and the nine slaves he held while living in Philadelphia when it served as the nation’s capitol from 1790-1800. Dr. Clarence Lusane, associate professor at American University and author of the new book The Black History of The White House, discusses the new memorial."

-The Michael Eric Dyson Show, Dec 30, 2010

Black History of the President's House

"For nearly a decade, members of the local community organized to ensure that the exhibit would address the fact that President George Washington enslaved people in this locale, and that their historic presence would be acknowledged and represented here as well. Although initially resistant to the idea, the National Park Service has inaugurated an exhibit that features material telling the story of the nine people enslaved by the Washingtons, and a long struggle has resulted in a very public revelation of some painful truths about the founding of our nation."

-Clarence Lusane, The Huffington Post Dec 16, 2010

TJMS: New Book By Clarence Lusane Details The Black History Of The White House

"Lusane explained that one of his motivations for writing the book revolves around conservatives and Tea Party members talking about taking back America. Lusane told Roland, 'what they are really saying is take America backwards. For some of them, they want to go not only before the 1960s some want to go before the 1860s.' Lusane also said, 'they [Tea Party members and Conservatives] make the argument that there was a time in this country when there was no racial conflict and everything was fine.' Lusane said each generation is obligated to repeat and remind ourselves of the real history of the country."

-Roland Martin, Washington Watch Podcast Dec 15, 2010

Clarence Lusane on Juan Williams, Chris Rogers on Pakistan

"This week on CounterSpin: The firing of Juan Williams from NPR might seem like an inside media story; it's become more as Williams, who was let go after saying people in 'Muslim garb' on planes make him nervous, has become something of a cause celebre for the right. We'll talk about what it all says about the present moment with Clarence Lusane, professor at American University and author of the forthcoming The Black History of the White House."

Interview with Clarence Lusane begins around minute 10.

-CounterSpin, Oct 29, 2010

Sold Brothers: The Bizzaro World of Williams and Thomas

"Conservative attacks on NPR have little to do with the substance of the case involving Williams and more to do with what is perceived to be an opening to attack non-right-wing media. Palin, DeMint and others hope to chill any news coverage that does not favor their extremist agenda even if that means left-baiting NPR. Along with Ginni Thomas, they seek any opportunity to mobilize their base against real or imagined liberal bias or progressive advancement. Williams and Thomas both sold their soul to the right-wing devil many moons ago. No tears should be shed for either one let alone any offer of apologies."

-Clarence Lusane, The Huffington Post Oct 26, 2010

From the White House to Obama's House

"Today, to confront the issue of rising racial animosity as well as the likely changed political environment that he will face after the November 2010 elections, Obama will need the one thing that Theodore Roosevelt's White House lacked: courage. Congressional Republicans and the conservative movement will relentlessly pursue an agenda of obstructionism, rollback, and anti-progressivism. The White House can continue to chase a fruitless strategy of bi-partisanship or realize that in the 2-6 years it has left, it is in an ideological and political battle for the future of the nation. Whatever the configuration of Congress turns out to be, President Obama must employ all the powers of his office, both real and symbolic, to push through policies that genuinely advance the nation’s interest and those of the people in it."

-Dr. Clarence Lusane, Oct 18, 2010

Racism, Shirley Sherrod and the Obama White House

"This article is an excerpt from The Black History of the White House forthcoming in the Open Media Series by City Lights Books,"

-Clarence Lusane, ZCommunications Jul 31, 2010

Latin America Sees Increase In African Refugees

"The United Nations High Commission for Refugees reports an increase in asylum seekers from several African countries to South America. Among countries seeing a spike in asylum seekers from Africa are Brazil and Argentina. Guest host Jennifer Ludden discusses the trend with journalist Anil Mundra, who has reported on African immigration to Argentina. Mundra is joined by Professor Clarence Lusane, of American University. Lusane works closely with African rights organizations in Brazil."

-Jennifer Ludden, Tell Me More, NPR Nov 23, 2009

Clarence Lusane: Obama, They're Just Not That Into You, Move On

"Clarence Lusane is Associate Professor at the American University School of International Service, and is a contributing author to Changing the Race: Racial Politics and the Election of Barack Obama, being published today by Applied Research Center. The edited volume features 20 prominent thinkers and activists on race and the 2008 election.

Barely nine months into his administration, President Obama finds himself at a cross-roads. At one level, a top policy priority, health care reform, is in trouble. His popular support has steadily decreased and angry mobs and extremist media have dominated the conversation putting Democratic supporters on the defensive and made Republicans feel emboldened in their obstructionist behavior. Even before a real bill has been fashioned, the White House and Hill Democrats have tossed out (or hinted at a willingness to cast off) key progressive provisions."

-Clarence Lusane, RaceWire Oct 1, 2009