Journalist Jesse J. Holland tells the story of the executive mansion’s most unexpected residents, the African American slaves who lived with the U.S. presidents who owned them. The Invisibles chronicles the African American presence inside the White House from its beginnings in 1782 until 1862, when President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation that granted slaves their freedom. During these years, slaves were the only African Americans to whom the most powerful men in the United States were exposed on a daily, and familiar, basis. These often-intimate relationships shaped the views that various presidents held about class and race in American society, and these slaves contributed not only to the life and comforts of the presidents they served, but to America as a whole.

Jesse J. Holland is a nationally recognized journalist and media personality from Washington, D.C., who for years has combined his work as a political reporter for the world's largest news organization, The Associated Press, with a love of African American history and news.

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This event is made possible through Brooklyn Public Library’s Fund for the Humanities, established through the generous support of the National Endowment for the Humanities, The Hearst Foundation, Inc.; the Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation; The Starr Foundation; the Leon and Muriel Gilbert Charitable Trust; the Henry and Lucy Moses Fund, Inc.; and a gift in memory of Samuel and Pauline Wine.