The iconic red sandstone used to build the Smithsonian Castle, one of Washington’s most recognizable buildings, was quarried by slaves, including some who were once most likely owned by Martha Washington, according to new historical research to be published Thursday.
The discovery by anthropology professor Mark Auslander adds to what has been a years-long reckoning with slavery’s role in Washington landmarks, including the Capitol and the White House, and adds nuance to the historical portrait of the Smithsonian Castle, which was built between 1847 and 1855.
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