The White House

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African Americans have been central in the operations of the White House even before President John Adams became its first resident in November 1800. African Americans helped construct the building, frequently served its presidents and guests, and (with the inauguration of President Barack Obama in January 2009) became its chief residents. Of the first 18 presidents of the United States, 12 held claim to enslaved Africans at some point, and 8 brought selected groups of enslaved peoples from their estates and plantations to the White House when it came time for them to take office. Spaces inside the White House that enslaved peoples formerly used as living quarters include the Diplomatic Reception Room, Library, and China Room.