Phila. To Honor Washington’s Slaves

AP, Feb. 28, 2007

The presidential mansion where George Washington and his slaves once lived were leveled long ago, but a new monument will keep their complicated, and sometimes painful, legacy alive for generations.

The National Park Service and city officials announced Tuesday the selection of a design by a black-owned firm to mark the site of the mansion near Independence Hall.

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The selection comes five years after groups started protesting plans to commemorate the Robert Morris House and build a new pavilion for the Liberty Bell, saying officials were ignoring the history of slaves.

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In 2002, Congress directed the National Park Service to “appropriately commemorate” the slaves. But the project was slowed by disagreement over exactly where the slaves lived, along with a lack of funding. Mayor John F. Street has committed $1.5 million in city funds. The project also has the support of a $3.6 million federal grant.

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