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Source: Visions, WPHI-TV, Channel 6, Philadelphia
Date: June 29, 2002
Byline: no byline

Slavery/Liberty Bell

As the nation prepares to celebrate Independence Day on July 4th, there's been controversy brewing over the proximity the Liberty Bell's new home to the site of George Washington's Slave Quarters. Attorney Michael Coard has received letters from a massive letter-writing campaign he orchestrated for the public to send to politicians and the Park Service. The purpose, to inform the public that research has identified the exact spot of President George Washington's residence on Market Street-formerly High Street-when Philadelphia was the nation's capital from 1790 to 1800. The mansion is illustrated in this 1830 lithograph. The old residence site is next to the current Liberty Bell Pavilion. It's rear overlaps the location of the new pavilion that's being built. The overlap is at the site of Washington's Slave Quarters. Some historians suggest halting construction for an archaeological dig at the site to chronicle how slaves lived. The National Park Service declined a dig saying its mission is preservation. Even dig supporters acknowledge nothing may be found because of excavation in 1951 that paved the way for Independence Mall. Still, some contend the new pavilion should address the complex struggle for a nation's freedom by a slave-owning president on the site of a symbol named by those who fought against slavery. Phil Sheridan is a spokesperson for the National Park Service. He says conversations between the Park Service and historians have taken place.
 

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