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Black Men Built the Capitol: Discovering African-American History In and Around Washington, D.C. Paperback – September 1, 2007

4.7 out of 5 stars 23 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

Millions of people visit the National Mall, the White House, and the U.S.
Capitol each year. If they only hear the standard story, a big question remains:
“Where’s the black history?”

 

Packed with new information and archival photos, Black Men Built the Capitol
answers this question. In this thoroughly researched yet completely accessible volume, Washington insider and political journalist Jesse J. Holland shines a light
on the region’s African-American achievements, recounting little-known stories
and verifying rumors, such as:

•   Enslaved black men built the Capitol, White House, and other important 

    Washington structures.

•   Philip Reid, a thirty-nine-year-old slave from South Carolina, cast and helped
save the model of the Statue of Freedom that sits atop the Capitol Dome.

•   The National Mall sits on the former site of the city’s most bustling slave market.

•   The grounds that are now Arlington National Cemetery were, from 1863 to
1888, a self-sustaining village for former slaves called the Freedman’s Village.

 

Included are hundreds of places in the District of Columbia, Maryland, and

Virginia that illuminate “the rest of the story” for Washington residents and visitors

alike.

About the Author

Jesse Holland is an Associated Press reporter covering Congress and is extraordinarly well placed among Washington's black power elite--the political, legal, academic, and media communities. He took a year's sabbatical from the AP to conduct never-before-done research into the topics covered in this book.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 216 pages
  • Publisher: Globe Pequot; 1st edition (September 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0762745363
  • ISBN-13: 978-0762745364
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.3 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #133,555 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By R. Morris on February 29, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I enjoyed this book and learned a lot about Washington, DC that I had never known before. Mr. Holland writes with a light, easy-to-read style but his content is anything but light. Holland moved to DC only to discover that histories made little mention of the African-American contributions to our nation's capital. So he set out to change that, and this book is the result.
Each page uncovers new facts about how 'black men built the capitol', as well as the 'capital'. What makes this an indispensable guidebook is that Holland starts each section with the standard history of an area or landmark and then gives the reader the 'rest of the story', adding the African-American perspective. If you are looking for a book to teach you about DC, a fascinating city by any standard, this is a good one. If you are looking for a book to learn about DC from an African-American perspective, this is a great one.

I lived in DC for nine years, and thought I knew it well. Jesse Holland showed me, a white American who has a degree in history, just how little I actually knew.

Valuable, entertaining, and should be in every history classroom in the DC area.

Illustrated with maps and photos, including a section of color photos.

Rob Morris, author of Untold Valor: Forgotten Stories of American Bomber Crewmen Over Europe in World War Two.
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Format: Paperback
This historial book about the accomplishments of African-Americans in the building of this nation reads more as a novel than a historical book. It gives interesting facts about African American history not only in the era of the building of Washington D.C. but of this nation in a whole. As the author, Jesse Holland states, the nation's history is incomplete without the mention of the African-American contributions. The book covers the Washington D.C. area and it points out the many African-American historial places and facts in D.C. that aren't on the regular tours.
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Format: Paperback
As a resident of Washington, DC, and one who has visited many of the attractions highlighted in Black Men Built the Capitol, I was amazed by all the new information I gleaned from this book. I learned something new on every page! I am a children's book author who loves history and a former journalist. I found it nothing but pure joy to read this book and discover so much more about black contributions to American and world history. Jesse Holland did his homework, and he did it well. Every American home and every American classroom, from elementary school to college, ought to have this book.
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Format: Paperback
This is a wonderful book. Jesse writes with a reporter's eye for detail and action, making the history fly off the pages. Even non history buffs like me will really enjoy this book, because it really is an assembly of great STORIES! Oh and by the way- you will learn alot about the history of the United States, not the Black History, but our collective history. It's something to take pride in and to share. Bravo- Jesse! Keep on writing!
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Format: Paperback
This book is more than a book of research findings arranged by topic. What you find within these pages is an encouraging letter from an insightful author about the joy of discovery and the fruits of knowing. Wording that not only highlights accomplishment, but longevity of accomplishment by a people for which much time and effort was spent on trying to make them believe they didn't have what it takes to deliver. The author has used a relaxed tone and casual, descriptive wording that is neither boastful or redemptive. Yet, the work offers hope by way of a fact-filled tour of a city that we never knew held so much of each of us. It is a sweet and sensitive wake up call for present and future generations without accusation or condemnation.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Congratulations to the author for persisting in the publication of this book. Having been one of several teachers who toured Washington, D.C., with seniors from our Cincinnati Ohio, H.S., I was shocked to hear our Congressional Representative say that he had never heard the contention that Blacks built the Capitol Building.
The pictures in the book confirm the fact that Black (slaves) did indeed build it. I suggest that copies of this book be required reading for all congressmen and senators of the United States. They can buy the book from Amazon Books.
Karl M. Holloway
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Jesse Holland has done a fabulous job researching this material on African American history around the Nation's capitol. The compilation of this material reaffirms the importance of African Americans in the building of the Nation. I thank him for finding and sharing these facts in a way that is both educational and easy to read. I hope to see more books by this great author.
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Bravo for excellent Black History data! I enjoyed reading information that has been kept out of mainstream history books. I had the opportunity to attend his book signing in Holly Springs, MS that was well attended. Again, BRAVO!
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