American Express grants $1 million to preserve Decatur House

american expressAmerican Express announced on Wednesday that it will provide a $1 million grant to the White House Historical Association to preserve the Slave Quarters at Washington, D.C.’s Decatur House and fund educational programming.

The grant will allow the association to conduct research to promote Decatur House’s historical significance. The site is home to one of the few remaining examples of urban slave quarters, and the history of domestic service and use of the slave quarters are important to the property’s history.

“You all aren’t just teaching our young people about history, you’re inspiring them to believe that they can make history as well,” First Lady Michelle Obama said at the grant ceremony. “And that’s really what history is for — it’s for the next generation, it’s for us to continue to learn and grow.”

Built in 1818, Decatur House was the first private residence in the area of the White House and was initially owned by Commodore Stephen Decatur, Jr. and his wife. The house passed through the hands of political figures, and served as the longtime residence of the Beale family before being donated to the National Trust for Historic Preservation in 1956.

“Our goal for this National Historic Landmark site is to repurpose Decatur House from a traditional house museum to an historic setting for active learning and discovery,” White House Historical Association Chairman Frederick J. Ryan, Jr. said. “This grant from American Express will enable us to continue research into the physical and social past of Decatur House and its nearly 200 years of shared history with the White House.”

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