Slave Labor Commemorative Marker
After generations of anonymity, enslaved African American laborers who contributed to the construction of the U.S. Capitol are now recognized by a commemorative marker in the Capitol Visitor Center’s Emancipation Hall.
The marker, a sandstone block presented in reverse position to highlight its original chisel marks, was once part of the U.S. Capitol’s East Front Portico. It was “quarried by laborers, including enslaved African Americans, and commemorates their important role in building the Capitol,” according to the marker’s plaque.
House Speaker John Boehner, who was joined at the unveiling ceremony by Slave Labor Task Force Chairman John Lewis and several other House and Senate colleagues, presided over the event. “It’s important for Americans—and the world, frankly—to see that the Capitol will continue to reflect our history and our quest for a more perfect union,” Speaker Boehner said.