Tony Award winner Audra McDonald, an outspoken Civil Rights activist, has taken to Twitter to rebuke Fox News host Bill O’Reilly for his comments about slaves who helped build the White House.
First Lady Michelle Obama delivered a powerful speech at the Democratic National Convention July 25, one that brought awareness to the fact that slave labor was used to build The White House, among other government buildings in Washington, D.C.
It was not the first time Mrs. Obama had stated the fact publicly, but the delivery of those words during the DNC drew major national media attention.
The New York Times swiftly published an article that included historic accounts that supported Mrs. Obama’s speech, including an interview with journalist Jesse Holland who wrote The Invisibles: The Untold Story of African American Slaves in the White House.
Conservative Fox News host Bill O’Reilly also picked up on the First Lady’s speech during his July 26 program. O’Reilly stated that it was a “positive comment” on the evolution of American history, adding that the history behind Mrs. Obama’s words were “fascinating,” and that additional workers were also responsible for the construction of The White House. (The Times stated that white laborers, including those from Maryland and Virginia, as well as Irish, Scottish and other European immigrants were hired alongside slaves.)
However, it was O’Reilly’s comments regarding the treatment of slaves that ignited a fierce online backlash. “Slaves that worked there were well fed and had decent lodgings provided by the government, which stopped hiring slave labor in 1802. However, the feds did not forbid subcontractors from using slave labor.”
McDonald swiftly took to Twitter to rebuke O’Reilly for his comments.
Her tweets, which include powerful and stark images of slavery in America follow:
Dear Bill O'Reilly...live in this: pic.twitter.com/p41Cb5F5l2— Audra McDonald (@AudraEqualityMc) July 27, 2016
Dear Bill O'Reilly...Wear these: pic.twitter.com/yRDlD2b8Rk— Audra McDonald (@AudraEqualityMc) July 27, 2016
Dear Bill O'Reilly...Take a ride on this: pic.twitter.com/j2kXKXYPtB— Audra McDonald (@AudraEqualityMc) July 27, 2016
Dear Bill O'Reilly...endure some of these... pic.twitter.com/Tdt9OxKeXh— Audra McDonald (@AudraEqualityMc) July 27, 2016
Dear Bill O'Reilly...live through this a few times... pic.twitter.com/reJpHhTaSh— Audra McDonald (@AudraEqualityMc) July 27, 2016
Dear Bill O'Reilly...Maybe now you'll get why people are having a hard time with your description of the slaves 'accommodations'.— Audra McDonald (@AudraEqualityMc) July 27, 2016