• The Black History of the White House

  • By: Clarence Lusane
  • Narrated by: JD Jackson
  • Length: 16 hrs and 24 mins
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars (118 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

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" amid a furious backlash against President Roosevelt for inviting Booker T. Washington to dinner and how that same year saw the consolidation of white power with the departure of the last black Congress member 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.

©2011 Clarence Lusane (P)2016 Audible, Inc.
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

Critic Reviews

"Clarence Lusane is one of America's most thoughtful and critical thinkers on issues of race, class and power." (Manning Marable)
"Barack Obama may be the first black president in the White House, but he's far from the first black person to work in it. In this fascinating history of all the enslaved people, workers, and entertainers who spent time in the president's official residence over the years, Clarence Lusane restores the White House to its true colors." (Barbara Ehrenreich)
"Reading The Black History of the White House shows us how much we DON'T know about our history, politics, and culture. In a very accessible and polished style, Clarence Lusane takes us inside the key national events of the American past and present. He reveals new dimensions of the black presence in the US from revolutionary days to the Obama campaign. Yes, 'black hands built the White House' - enslaved black hands - but they also built this country's economy, political system, and culture, in ways Lusane shows us in great detail. A particularly important feature of this book its personal storytelling: we see black political history through the experiences and insights of little-known participants in great American events. The detailed lives of Washington's slaves seeking freedom, or the complexities of Duke Ellington's relationships with the Truman and Eisenhower White House, show us American racism, and also black America's fierce hunger for freedom, in brand new and very exciting ways. This book would be a great addition to many courses in history, sociology, or ethnic studies courses. Highly recommended!" (Howard Winant)

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What listeners say about The Black History of the White House

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From Quarries to the Oval Office - Unforgettable

Africans and African-Americans have been intimately involved with the White House from the quarries of its foundation to every meal ever made— to President Obama himself. This book is that history: from White House service, rebellion, and protest.

And what stories! There’s Washington's runaway slave Oney, determined not to be given away as a present. I liked Hercules the dandy chef, the hands that built the nation. Everyone will love these stories and will want to share them with a new generation.

Narrated by my favorite baritone,J.D. Jackson.

10 people found this helpful

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great history lesson of white house creation

loved the thoroughness of the detailed information n story telling of actual events. everyone American needs to read this book

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A treasure trove of information!!!

The amount of information in this book is vast and efficiently laid out. There are stories that bring the historical figures to life and give context to the political climate and failures of our country to extend “freedom” and “liberty” to ALL our people. I highly recommend!

That being said, the narrator has a lovely voice but his delivery is plodding and monotonous at times. When he reads quotes and attempts to voice the subject, all of the voices end up sounding like the same black southern voice, even President Obama. Still, I wouldn’t let that deter me from listening to it again to brush up on my history.

The book was written while Obama was still in office. It tackles none of the overt and dangerous racism that became a state sponsored method for dealing with critics of the now disgraced Former President t****.

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information overload

In a historic mind set this book is sure to give the mind a broadening of prospective!

In short the information is deep... but the history is priceless!

Mr Jackson's voice inflection are on point and his relaxing voice allows you to be in the historical period and visit the sights and times in your mind.

I enjoy the history lessons not offered give from the Black voices of history.

2 people found this helpful

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Interesting, good anecdotes, proving what?

This book provides an interesting summation of the history of what has happened to blacks over the last couple hundred years in the United States of America.
It might better be entitled “Blacks and any association with the White House that might be rendered”.
Definitely worth reading, but to be taken with many grains of salt.

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This is a revelation of History

I LOVED IT! Get it. You won't regret it. Very well written and revelatory.

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Connections

As a voter the election of 2008 I'd say was the first where I was more conscious and attentive to the voting process now that I was old enough to participate. Only wish I'd known about this text prior to visiting Washington, DC. Highly recommend, thought about Dyson's Black Presidency read a lot as well.

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Well researched!!

This is so important in as far as American History and should really be required reading for all! I highly recommend this for all. The narrator was one of the best I have every heard! Great job by both author and narrator! Thank you!

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Must read

This book needs to be read by every US person but must be done with an open mind and not trying to make excuses for the terrible history of our country.

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Filling in the gaps of the history I was taught

I appreciate Clarence Lusane’s work, The Black History of the White House. I just finished part 1 & I am eager to start part two. Lusane shines a spotlight on the many significant, fascinating & impressive contributions & sacrifices made by my African American for fathers & mothers. Their achievements do not surprise me, neither do the efforts by American whites to conceal and appropriate black intelligence, talent, fortitude and courage. Lusane skillfully & verifiably sets records straight in ways that move me to jump & shout! 👏🏽👏🏽