Ad Hoc Historians Press Packet, September 2003 • Section 2 of 10 START PAGE | NEXT >

Statement from Mr. Michael Coard, Esq.

September 9, 2003
Contact: Michael Coard, Esq.,
Avenging The Ancestors Coalition (ATAC)

  1. In connection with the Liberty Bell Center — and in the interest of the real and documented history of that site — NPS/INHP must formally acknowledge, permanently mark, and conspicuously highlight the footprint of the slave quarters, which housed at least three of the eight Africans enslaved by President George Washington at America's first "White House." This is absolutely essential not only because those slave quarters are a mere five feet from the Liberty Bell Center but also because they are at the very entrance to it. This is truly a case of degrading inhuman bondage in the face of uplifting human freedom. The truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth must be told.

  2. The key role of Philadelphia’s abolitionists must be addressed by NPS/INHP at the Liberty Bell Center. Clearly, the Liberty Bell represents the hopes and aspirations of all Americans who understand that liberty must exist for everyone or it exists for no one. This is precisely what the abolitionists understood when in the 1830s they first decided to name the bell “The Liberty Bell.” And that is why the Liberty Bell’s inscription states that its purpose is to “Proclaim Liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof.”

  3. The direct and immediate connection between the Liberty Bell Center and the commemorative project at President’s House site must be conceded, addressed, and acted upon by NPS/INHP. The Liberty Bell Center does not exist in a vacuum. It is physically and historically a vital part of the President’s House, which, as America’s first “White House,” is exactly where President George Washington enslaved eight Africans and signed into law the first Fugitive Slave Act in 1793. And this is exactly why NPS/INHP must finish the President’s House process by using the Olin preliminary design proposal as the first of many steps in a more complete project, a project that must include the active and substantive participation of African American historians, planners, designers, architects, artists, contractors, and construction workers.

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