In part six of the amazing HBO miniseries “John Adams,” viewers are hit with a dose of truth in storytelling that is rare on television. Especially when it relates to African American history. John Adams, the second President of The United States, and his formidable wife, Abigail Adams, arrive at the building site of The White House. They intend to move in as the construction progresses.
Upon arriving at The White House, President and First Lady Adams look on in astonishment and disgust at the near starving and squalor conditions of the workers. Even more so, they are both appalled at who the workers are.
The White House construction laborers are made up entirely of African American slaves. Slaves also make up the house staff, too. The facial expressions of the stellar acting talents of Paul Giamatti and Laura Linney portrayed the heartfelt guttural disdain that John and Abigail Adams more than likely experienced upon their historic arrival at The White House.
President Adams, even though opposed to slavery, went along with and in fact endorsed a passive position to the question of slavery. Upon the completion of the “Declaration of Independence”, John Adams opposed the wording and possible intent of Thomas Jefferson’s penned “Declaration.” Not wanting to offend and possibly lose the support of the Southern states, Adams suggested the removal of the ambiguous language implying that ‘all human beings are equal’ to ‘all men are created equal with certain inalienable rights.’
As we already know, slaves were considered three fifths of a human being. So, the “Declaration of Independence” does not apply to African Americans in its’ original intent and form.
In fact, Thomas Jefferson, the third President of The United States, believed that African Americans and slavery was morally wrong. Yet, Jefferson also held the belief that African Americans were inferior to their Caucasian counterparts and thereby needed guidance and instruction.
However, getting back to the subject of African Americans, slavery and the construction of The White House, it is interesting to note that an American television network would produce and broadcast an obvious piece of American history that many feel is irrelevant in 2008. The United States of America as a whole has never nor plans to address the question of reparations for African American descendants of slaves.
Sveral states have offered apologies. Florida is the latest to do so. But the deep seated wounds of this country’s major involvement in the capital crimes of kidnapping, murder, human trafficking and enslavement, have yet to be healed. The wounds has festered and become infected because of the ignorance and the arrogance of a select group of people who would rather see this criminal record of American history buried and forgotten.
HBO and the executive producers of “John Adams” should be applauded for their inclusion of the truth. It is also interesting to note that in this historic election year, an African American has a strong chance in becoming the first African American President of The United States. Barack Obama has the chance to become the first African American to actually Sit and Reside in a position of authority in the same Oval Office that John Adams and Thomas Jefferson once sat in.
Justice will have then been served.