Peter Nyong’o embraces sister Lupita Nyong’o after she wins the award for best actress in a supporting role for “12 Years a Slave”
Lupita Nyong’o, best supporting actress winner for her role in “12 years a Slave,” hugs the movie’s director Steve McQueen as actress Angelina Jolie and co-star and producer Brad Pitt look on at the 86th Academy Awards
First Lady Michelle Obama is surrounded by schoolchildren from Willow Springs Elementary School in Fairfax, Va., after they performed part of a play at the Decatur House, a National Trust for Historic Preservation Site and home to the David M. Rubenstein National Center for White House History, in Washington, May 22. The events were part of an announcement of a major philanthropic effort to preserve the Decatur House
Washington Post: Michelle Obama visited the slave quarters at Decatur House — a red-brick structure that sits in the shadow of the White House — that once housed the black men and women who served 19th century politicians, military and business leaders who lived in the property. The first lady, who is the nation’s only first lady to have descended from people held in slavery, made the stop as part of an announcement that the historic Decatur House, which is located 150 yards from the White House, would receive a $1 million grant from American Express to preserve the house and accompanying slave quarters.
“….. For nearly 200 years, as our country has grown and evolved, the Decatur House has grown and evolved right along with it. This house has hosted parties and social events with some of our nation’s foremost leaders. It’s been a residence for secretaries of state, and at one time, it served as headquarters for the Army Subsistence Department of the Civil War.
But from the back of the house, from a structure far less lavish, comes even more history — the kinds of stories that too often get lost, the kinds of stories that are a part of so many of our families’ histories, including my own. I’m talking about the slaves here at Decatur House who spent their lives within shouting distance of one of the most powerful buildings on the planet — a bastion of freedom and justice for all.
Yet, within this very place, about 20 men and women spent their days serving those who came and went from this house and their nights jammed together on the second floor of the slave quarters, all the while holding onto a quiet hope, a quiet prayer that they, too, and perhaps their children, would someday be free. These stories of toil, and sweat, and quiet, unrelenting dignity — these stories are as vital to our national memory as any other. And so it is our responsibility as a nation to ensure that these stories are told.”