Jesse J. Holland’s book, “The Invisibles: The Untold Story of African American Slaves in the White House” offers new insight into lives of these men and women who lived in bondage in the White House. (Bettmann/CORBIS )
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How did you begin researching the story?
Only one or two of the slaves who worked for the president ever had anything written—Paul Jennings wrote a memoir—but there’s very little written about these men and women enslaved by the presidents. Most of my research was done by reading between lines of presidential memoirs and piecing all of it into one coherent narrative. Presidential historians that work at Monticello and Hermitage in Tennessee, for example, want this research done; they were thrilled when someone wanted to look at these records and…
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