Person: Barack Obama
Memorial to Enslaved People of African Descent in the United States of America
* Quotes from Maya Angelou, Frederick Douglass, W.E.B. Du Bois, Frances Ellen Watkin Harper and Barack Obama
* enclosed space, ideas
* This piece features an extensive amount of text, including African sayings, symbols, and a list of African countries. Reproduced here as inscriptions are the text of the plaque, and the quotes from named individuals. This memorial does not seem to have an official name. The name used is shortened from the text of the plaque. The plaque simply labels it "Memorial." The National Park Service web site calls it "a memorial to enslaved Africans." Avenging the Ancestors calls it the "Slavery Memorial." The last picture, of the wall with the names of the enslaved people who lived in the President's House, is part of the President's House exhibit and not the Memorial.
"Either America will destroy ignorance or ignorance will destroy the United States." -W.E.B. Du Bois
"I ask no monument proud and high to arrest the gaze of the passers-by, all that my yearning spirit craves, is bury me not in a land of slaves." -Frances Ellen Watkin Harper
"You the Ashanti, the Yoruba, the Kru, bought, sold, stolen, arriving on a nightmare praying for a dream." -Maya Angelou
"We gave sought to bind the chains of slavery on the limbs of the black man, without thinking that at last we should find the other end of that hateful chain about our own necks." -Frederick Douglass
"It was whispered by slaves and abolitionists as they blazed a trail toward freedom... yes we can, yes we can." -Barack Obama
This enclosed space is dedicated to millions of men, women, and children of African descent who lived, worked, and died as enslaved people in the United States of America. They should never again be forgotten. One of two smokehouse rooms in which three enslaved men slept - Giles, Paris, and Austin - once stood in this area. The close proximity to the Liberty Bell Center reminds us that Liberty was not originally intended for all.
It is difficult to understand how men who spoke so passionately of liberty and freedom were unable to see the contradiction, the injustice, and the immorality of their actions. Enslaved Africans and their descendants endured brutality and mistreatment for over 200 years even as their labor build and enriched the nation. The struggle for freedom and political, social, and economic equality continued even after the legal standing of slavery. The devestating effects of slavery continue to affect race relations to this day. Yet, we must continue to strive for the ideals embodied in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States of America.
The African symbols, words, and quotations on the exterior and interior walls speak to the spirit of hope, the resiliance of the human spirit, and the determination of a people to arise out of bondage to freedom.
City of Philadelphia | National Park Service
* Southeast corner, 6th and Market.
* 39.950300,-75.150050 [map]
* On the Independence Mall tour
* Exhibits: African American
* See also:
+National Park Service page for this piece
+Avenging the Ancestors page for this piece
+wikipedia.org's Maya Angelou page
+wikipedia.org's Frederick Douglass page
+wikipedia.org's W.E.B. Du Bois page
+wikipedia.org's Frances Ellen Watkin Harper page