Ehlers Praises Task Force Recommendations to Memorialize Contributions of Slave Labor in Construction of U.S. Capitol

Nov 7, 2007

WASHINGTON – Today, the Committee on House Administration led by Chairman Robert Brady, D-Pa., and Ranking Republican Vern Ehlers, R-Mich., conducted a hearing to review the recommendations of the Slave Labor Task Force to memorialize the contributions of slave labor in the construction of the U.S. Capitol.

The six member task force was created in 2005 by House and Senate Leadership to study the contributions of slave labor during the construction of the U.S. Capitol, and to provide Congress with recommendations to appropriately commemorate their efforts. 

At today’s hearing, members of the Task Force presented the Committee with eight recommendations including, new Capitol and electronic exhibits, educational brochures, the online publication of the Task Force’s report, and training the Capitol Guide Service to incorporate information on slave laborers in Capitol tours.  

Ehlers praised the Task Force for their efforts stating, “I am extremely pleased with the extensive and well-thought out recommendations this report contains, which include additional training for the Capitol Guide Service on this topic and an online resource for historians and scholars on the use of slave labor in the Capitol.”  Ehlers also noted, “It is easy to forget as we craft legislation with the goal of preserving and protecting our freedom, that the very floors and walls that surround us were constructed in part by those who knew no liberty. The recognition of slaves as an important part of the fabric of our nation’s history is long overdue.”

Prior to the hearing on the contributions of slave labor in constructing the U.S. Capitol, the Committee favorably reported by unanimous consent the U.S. Capitol Police and Library of Congress Police Merger Implementation Act of 2007 (H.R. 3690).  






For more information, contact the Republican Committee press office at (202) 225-8281.