An Open Letter to Rep. John Lewis
Oct 02, 2008 | 7201 views | 0 0 comments | 105 105 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Dear Congressman John Lewis,

I am writing to you today to request that a ceremony of significance be held when Emancipation Hall is completed. I am sure that you are aware that the Capitol building itself as well as many other historically important buildings in Washington, DC were constructed using enslaved labor.

Our ancestors toiled for endless hours at a time when no heavy equipment was used to ease their burden. Men and women of color were treated like beasts of burden rather than the human beings that they were. This is why it is so important to “go tell it on the mountain, over the hill and everywhere, from sea to shining sea.” All Americans and the world must be made aware of the awesome contributions of the sons and daughters of Ham and the inhuman conditions under which they were compelled to toil. These indisputable historic facts must not be kept within ourselves or within the United States government, for to do so would be a continuum of a cover-up. Congress must tell everyone of the extraordinary accomplishments of our ancestors. Remember that the United States constitution defined our ancestors as three fifths of a human being and the United States Supreme Court Dred Scott decision declared “even a free black man has no rights which a white man is bound to respect.”

The founding fathers were enslavers, yet they are revered by our fellow citizens. Our enslaved forbearers who often paid the ultimate sacrifice must be recognized and honre for who they were and what they did. A monument must be dedicated to the memory of our loved ones. The only befitting place for such a statue would be in the Capitol rotunda amongst the icons who declared our ancestors as not being human.

Therefore, there must be an appropriate ceremony when Emancipation Hall is dedicated. The world media must be notified and the educational institutions must teach this history just as the holocaust and other atrocities are taught! This history must be shouted from the rooftops so that all humanity will take note!

Congressman Lewis, I have no doubt that you are cognizant that the scourge of racism still remains in my country today. Are our people truly free? Do we yet receive equal treatment and justice in our land? You know the answers to these questions as well as I do. This nation must continue to work for true equality and freedom in these United States of America.

My phone call in the summer of 2004 to Congressman Gary Ackerman complaining about how this country never recognized the enslaved Africans who built the Capitol led to the formation of the Congressional task force of which you are the Chairman. The purpose of the task force was to research who built the Capitol and the White House which was referred to as the president’s palace.

Normally sir, I would never make such a request, but I feel that the phone call that I made to Congresman Gary Ackerman is significant enough concerning the above historic findings, that both of our names should be etched into the official records of Congress for posterity.


Mandingo Osceola Tshaka

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