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The Black History of the White House
March 15, 2011
About the Author – Dr. Clarence Lusane is an Associate Professor of Political Science in the School of International Service at American University where he teaches and researches on international human rights, comparative race relations, social movements and electoral politics.a scholar. In addition to several other books, his writing have appeared in the Washington Post, Miami Herald, Baltimore Sun, Huffington Post, Black Scholar, Race and Class, and many more publications. He often appears on PBS, BET, C-SPAN and other national media. He has lectured in over 40 countries and is currently Co-chair of the Civil Society Committee for the U.S.-Brazil Joint Action Plan to Eliminate Racial Discrimination, a bi-lateral agreement involving governments and civil society.
About the Book – The Black History of the White House presents the untold history, racial politics, and shifting significance of the White House as experienced by African Americans, from the generations of enslaved people who helped to build it or were forced to work there to its first black First Family, the Obamas.
Clarence Lusane juxtaposes significant events in White House history with the ongoing struggle for democratic, civil, and human rights by black Americans and demonstrates that only during crises have presidents used their authority to advance racial justice. He describes how in 1901 the building was officially named the “White House” amidst a furious backlash against President Roosevelt for inviting Booker T. Washington to dinner, and how that same year that saw the consolidation of white power with the departure of the last black Congressmember elected after the Civil War. Lusane explores how, from its construction in 1792 to its becoming the home of the first black president, the White House has been a prism through which to view the progress and struggles of black Americans seeking full citizenship and justice.