Our latest If We Knew Our History series article, “Missing from Presidents’ Day: The People They Enslaved,” helped shine a light on the hidden history of the White House.
The author of the article, American University professor Clarence Lusane, was interviewed by Amy Goodman on Democracy Now! this morning to discuss the direct role of one out of four U.S. presidents in human trafficking.
See the segment below.
Lusane described why it is important to take a critical look at this aspect of the presidency:
For many Americans, it is subversive to criticize the nation’s founders, the founding documents, the presidency, the president’s house, and other institutions that have come to symbolize the official story of the United States. It may be uncomfortable to give up long-held and even meaningful beliefs that in many ways build both collective and personal identities. However, erasing enslaved African Americans from the White House and the presidency presents a false portrait of our country’s history. If young people—and all the rest of us—are to understand a fuller, people’s history of the United States, they need to recognize that every aspect of early America was built on slavery.