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Source: KYW Newsradio
Date: August 16, 2006
Byline: Karin Phillips

President's House Proposals on Display at Constitution Center

Design models for the proposed "President's House" on Independence Mall are open for public display at the National Constitution Center.

Model designs for a permanent, outdoor commemorative installation to be placed on the footprint of the house built for George Washington are now on display until September 13th for public comment.

The five architects' design models are set up in the Grand Hall lobby of the Constitution Center, their themes as varied as the concepts of freedom and slavery.

At least two proposals would include the sounds of voices coming from where the slave quarters once stood behind George Washington's house on Market Street, near 6th.

Attorney Michael Coard, co-founder of "ATAC," the Avenging The Ancestor Coalition, says he's pleased with what he's seen:

"We had an idea of what we were looking for. And I have to say the models of these five semifinalists have pretty much gotten what we were talking about. So I have to tell you, I am pleasantly surprised, in fact, pleasantly shocked, that the five models are as thoroughly impressive as we had hoped they would be."

Coard says he and his membership will examine the displays over the next several days:

"We want to make sure that whatever the models show that they conspicuously highlight the footprint of the slave quarters, because where the slave quarters existed are actually a mere five feet from the entrance of the Liberty Bell Center."

The President's House was on Market Street from 1790 to 1800. The installation marks the documented fact that at least nine enslaved Africans were kept by President George Washington while he lived there.


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