with the bold text in the example below: The Skychi Travel Guide : Library of Congress depicts 5 African Faces of 33 Races

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Library of Congress depicts 5 African Faces of 33 Races

<img src="image.gif" alt="This is Skychitravels" />
Skychitravels braving the cold at the 57th Presidential Inauguration

Tuesday, the day after the 57th Presidential Inauguration I went to tour the Capitol Building and the Library of Congress. I was pleasantly surprised to hear the tour guides mention the contributions of Black people.

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SkychiTravels in Emancipation Hall

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"Skychitravels" in Emancipation Hall of Capitol Hill Visitor's Center

During the Capitol Building Tour our guide stated that slaves helped to build the building. 
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Skychitravels poses with Sojourner Truth Bust in Emancipation Hall at Capitol Building Visitor's Center

<img src="image.gif" alt="This is Slave Commemorative Marker" />
Slave Commemorative Marker in Emancipation Hall of the Capitol Building  Visitor's Center

Our tour guide pointed out the bust of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. which has been on display since the MLK Day Federal Holiday in 1969.

<img src="image.gif" alt="Dr Martin Luther King Jr bust" />
Skychitravels poses with bust of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in Capitol Hill Rotunda
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Capitol Building Tour Guide in National Statuary Hall location of President Obama's Inaugural Luncheon

Our tour guide lead us to the basement of the Capitol Building where he showed us an archway through which passed Abraham Lincoln and Franklin D. Roosevelt for their inaugurations.

<img src="image.gif" alt="Capitol Hill Archway, Washington DC" />
Capitol Hill Archway of the original wall built by slaves

I was full of pride about the contributions of my people being recognized in a history and cultural tour of the Capitol Building, especially after celebrating the second inauguration of the first African American President Barack Obama.

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Library of Congress Tour Guide Tom pointing out the race of the statues in main hall

Then I met the second tour guide at the Library of Congress who was an enigma. Old Tom stated that something happened yesterday but he didn't know what it was. Next Tom said something about insulting us (Black) and not caring. Everyone in the group was shocked.

<img src="image.gif" alt="This are Library of Congress Frescos" />
Frescos in the Library of Congress

There were two other African American ladies and myself present when our tour guide Tom directed these statements at us. Another husband and wife couple joins who are also African American. Tom points to the frescos and states Blacks placed those stones in the ceiling. He says to the wife of the African American couple something about her getting up there to put those stones in place.

Then another woman who is White walks over to me and asked if I was going to do something about this. I looked at her and shook my head, No. I really did not know what to do or say, none of us knew.

I was thinking. What the hell was his problem? Should I leave? Is he a volunteer? Can you fire a volunteer? Should I join another group? To whom should I complain? Why is he so hateful? Why do old folks feel like they can say whatever they want to say? 
There is something going on. This is not about me. 

<img src="image.gif" alt="This White and Asian Children Sculputres" />
Library of Congress White and Asian Children Sculptures

No one left the tour at that point. We all followed him into the main hall of the Library of Congress. Tom begins to share with us the representation of the races of the children. There are four children representing the White, Asian, African, and Indian people. These were the four races recognized in America by the Library of Congress in 1897.

<img src="image.gif" alt="This are Indian and African Children Sculptures" />
Library of Congress Indian and African Children Sculptures

Now I get it. Old Tom doesn't want to talk about the contributions of Black People or recognize that we exist in history and culture. This is the way my mind interpreted Old Tom's words and actions.

Tom tells the group about the 33 races represented on the outside of the Library of Congress in 1897. There are faces in groups of threes on the corners of the Thomas Jefferson building of the Library of Congress. Then Tom says they had to make up some races like the blonde and brunette race to complete the 33 races because they ran out of races. Tom repeats this statement two or three times.

I am thinking to myself that does not make sense. Sculptures do not have any color. One can't tell if a sculpture is blonde or brunette. This made me curious.

So, I returned the next day to repeat the tours at the Capitol Building and the Library of Congress. This time I joined a tour at the Library of Congress lead by Mary, an African American woman who has been leading tours since 2002. Of course this was a completely different experience to the previous tour with Tom. 

<img src="image.gif" alt="This are Children Sculptures" />
Library of Congress Children Sculptures Representing Various Occupations in 1897
Mary explained the meaning of the sculpture children representing the various work occupations in 1897 that all are welcome to the Library of Congress no matter your occupation.

<img src="image.gif" alt="This is a tour at Library of Congress" />
Tour Guide Mary leading a group at the Library of Congress

After the tour with Mary, I walked outside the Jefferson building of the Library of Congress to see the faces of the 33 races represented in 1897.

<img src="image.gif" alt="This is Library of Congress exterior" />
Faces of 3 Races on the Library of Congress Thomas Jefferson Building
As you can see, there are no blond or brunette races as stated by Old Tom.

What Old Tom didn't say was that there are 5 faces of African Race on the back of the Library of Congress.

Five African Faces on the Rear of the Library of Congress Thomas Jefferson Building

Thanks to Old Tom, I discovered a National Treasure of Monuments to Black History. In 1897, Library of Congress recognized 5 African faces. My pride has returned thanks to Old Tom lies and my curiosity.

I stand corrected Old Tom stated there was a blonde, brunette and redhead race; there in fact are blonde and brunette races depicted on the Library of Congress Thomas Jefferson Building.

Read more at What are the races depicted on the Library of Congress?