In a powerful speech at the Democratic National Convention, Michelle Obama acknowledged the involvement of slaves in the construction of the White House.
Whilst endorsing Hilary Clinton, who could be America’s first female president, the First Lady’s comment formed part of a larger commentary regarding the astounding progress made in the United States.
“It’s the story that I witness every single day, when I wake up in a house that was built by slaves, and I watch my daughters – two beautiful, black young women – head off to school, waving goodbye to their father, the President of the United States”, Obama stated.
Michelle Obama’s speech at the Democratic National Convention, which was held 25 July, was well received by audiences and online supporters alike.
One Twitter user, @eugene_kane, tweeted “Every First Lady in US history has slept in a White House built by slaves. Michelle Obama is the only one who has ever acknowledged it”.
While the speech was praised by some, Fox News had the adverse reaction.
John Gibson, one producer said: “I’ll admit I find the line aggravating… Why am I annoyed? Not because the statement doesn’t have some element of truth. Was the White House was built by slaves? Sort of. Yes”
Fox News representatives claim the First Lady failed to mention the involvement of the “local white labourers” and “immigrants from Scotland, Ireland and other European nations” that contributed.
The technicality of term ‘slavery’ is also being called into question as is subject of heavy debate. According to a 2005 task force report entitled ‘History of Slave Labourers in the Construction of the United States Capitol’, the slaves who were involved in the construction of the White House were paid for their labour.
Whilst the debate is still ongoing, Michelle Obama – a multimillionaire Harvard graduate with a Presidential husband – is a walking example of the success that can be achieved by anyone who strives to work hard and apply one’s talent in a place of historical adversity.