How to buy the book

You can order at History Press as well as Amazon, Barnes and Noble and other on-line retailers. I will send you a signed copy for $23, a little extra to cover shipping. I will send you both Slave Labor in the Capital and Through a Fiery Trial for $40. Send a check to me at PO Box 63, Wellesley Island, NY 13640-0063.

My lectures at Sotterley Plantation in St. Mary's County, Maryland, on September 23, 2015, and the DAR Library on December 5 are now blog posts below listed under book talks. The talk I gave
at the Politics and Prose Bookstore on February 28, 2015, along with Heather Butts, author African American Medicine in Washington, was taped by the bookstore. Take a listen.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Hired slaves preparing the city in 1800

"Meanwhile in May, Smallwood placed an ad for 8 men good at ditching. It must have been a come down for a man who once supervised five times that many men. Shortly after placing that ad, Smallwood went to work at the Navy Yard where he could place ads for 30 to 40 men."

I photocopied this page of the commissioners' proceedings because of the order that the overseer of the laborers Samuel Smallwood "keep not less than four Labourers engaged in ditching and levelling..." That laborers, presumably hired slaves, did such work is not surprising, but that so few were assigned to do the job is remarkable. The distance between the White House and Capitol was over a mile, and there were more roads that needed ditching and leveling. This might be described as a token crew deployed to answer particular complaints, not a serious effort to see that the city had good streets with good drainage.

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