George Washington's secret slave passage found

Archaeologists unearthing the remains of George Washington's presidential home in Philadelphia have found a hidden passageway nine of his slaves used to slip in and out of the main house so they would not be seen by guests.

George Washington's secret slave passage found
Archaeologists unearthing the remains of George Washington's presidential home in Philadelphia have found a hidden passageway nine of his slaves used to slip in and out of the main house so they would not be seen by guests.

The discovery has raised questions about whether the ruins should be part of a new exhibit at the site. National Park Service and city officials planning the exhibit at the house are trying to decide whether to incorporate the remains into the exhibit or contine plans to fill in the ruins and build an abstract display.

The underground passageway is just steps from the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall.

"As you enter the heaven of liberty, you literally have to cross the hell of slavery," said Michael Coard, a Philadelphia attorney who leads a group that worked to have slavery recognized at the site. "That's the contrast, that's the contradiction, that's the hypocrisy. But that's also the truth."

Washington lived and conducted presidential business at the house in the 1790s, when Philadelphia was the nation's capital.

Making that decision will push back the building of the exhibit, which had been slated to open in 2009. But the oversight committee won't rush into construction, said Joyce Wilkerson, the mayor's chief of staff.

"We never thought we'd be faced with this kind of decision," she said. "We would've been happy to have found a pipe! And so we don't want to proceed blindly or say, 'This isn't in the plan.'"

Aside from the passageway, archaeologists have uncovered remnants of a bow window, an architectural precursor to the White House's Oval Office, and a large basement that was never noted in historic records.
Last Mod: 11 Haziran 2007, 11:57
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