It seems that some people may have failed history.
Or maybe it's more a sign of how broken the education system is that PolitiFact actually had to go out and fact-check whether the White House was built by slaves after first lady Michelle Obama mentioned that fact during her rousing speech at the Democratic National Convention.
"I wake up every morning in a house that was built by slaves," Obama said. "And I watch my daughters—two beautiful, intelligent, black young women—playing with their dogs on the White House lawn. And because of Hillary Clinton, my daughters and all our sons and daughters now take for granted that a woman can be president of the United States. So don't let anyone ever tell you that this country isn't great, that somehow we need to make it great again, because this right now is the greatest country on earth."
The troglodytes lost their collective minds, looking for every loophole possible to denounce the truth behind the first lady's words.
This is why Black History Month is important, y'all.
Anyway, after people started questioning the veracity of Obama's words, PolitiFact did a solid and looked into whether the first lady was correct.
PolitiFact cited the White House Historical Association, a private preservation and education group for the residence, which actually has a web page devoted to this question. The response reads, in part:
Construction on the president's house began in 1792 in Washington, D.C., a new capital situated in a sparsely settled region far from a major population center. The decision to place the capital on land ceded by two slave states—Virginia and Maryland—ultimately influenced the acquisition of laborers to construct its public buildings.
The D.C. commissioners, charged by Congress with building the new city under the direction of the president, initially planned to import workers from Europe to meet their labor needs. However, response to recruitment was dismal and soon they turned to African American(s)—enslaved and free—to provide the bulk of labor that built the White House, the United States Capitol, and other early government buildings.
Collen Williamson, a stonemason, trained enslaved people at the government's quarry in Aquia, Va., the historical association noted, and those enslaved people "quarried and cut the rough stone that was later dressed and laid by Scottish masons to erect the walls of the president's house. The slaves joined a workforce that included local white laborers and artisans from Maryland and Virginia, as well as immigrants from Ireland, Scotland and other European notions."
Journalist Jesse J. Holland also wrote about the involvement of slaves in the construction of the White House in his 2016 book, The Invisibles: The Untold Story of African American Slaves in the White House.
"With the invention of steam shovels still several years away, these slaves dug for the clay on site with hand shovels, working day and night to get the raw material to the skilled brick makers and at the same time, opening up ground on the site for the space that would become the White House’s foundation and cellar," Holland wrote.
Holland told PolitiFact that Obama's statement is "true."
In the end, PolitiFact ended up endorsing Obama's statement as well, rating it true and noting that "strictly speaking, the White House was not exclusively built by slaves; it was built by a combination of slaves, free blacks and whites. But slaves were significantly involved in the construction of the White House, so we have no quarrel with the way Obama worded her claim."
But really … are you surprised? Most things in this country were built on the backs of slaves and free blacks. But don't shoot the messenger. Study the history you so desperately try to ignore.
Read more at PolitiFact.