Five Symbolic Buildings Built By Enslaved Black People

The White House
Briona Lamback
October 31, 2022

America was built on the backs of enslaved Black people, and these five symbolic buildings of “freedom” tell a drastically different story than we know about it.

#1: The White House

It houses U.S. presidents fighting for democracy - yet, it was built with enslaved people’s free labor. The constructing architect earned $60 for every enslaved person he held. That’s an estimated $83 million in reparations owed.

#2: The Capitol 

Enslaved people also built the meeting place of this nation’s legislature, the U.S. Capitol. It took thirty years to complete, and guess who got paid instead of the skilled laborers? 

Enslavers. They received an estimated 385 payments.

#3: Wall Street

Unsurprisingly, our people constructed the epicenter of American capitalism, Wall Street, named after an actual wall enslaved Black people built in 1653, soon after housing one of the largest slave markets in the U.S.

#4: The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

As the oldest public university in the nation, forced labor was instrumental in many of the campus’s early buildings. They continued utilizing enslaved hands until the U.S. abolished slavery in 1865.

#5: Faneuil Hall

Boston’s Faneuil Hall is called the “cradle of liberty,” built by enslaver Peter Faneuil used money he gained from the business of dehumanizing and enslaving Black folks to fund the construction.

White supremacy won’t teach the truth about this history. That’s why we have to! Next time you see these buildings, remember our ancestors who really built America.

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