Black History: Your questions answered on Foundations of Freedom Thursday.   Did slaves build the White House; Is the Constitution pro-slavery; Is the First Amendment Defense Act needed; What are the statistics for American Literacy?

Air Date: 01/26/2017

Guests: David Barton, Rick Green, and Tim Barton


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Transcription note:  As a courtesy for our listeners’ enjoyment, we are providing a transcription of this podcast.  However, as this is transcribed from a live talk show, words and sentence structure were not altered to fit grammatical, written norms in order to preserve the integrity of the actual dialogue between the speakers.  Additionally, names may be misspelled because of the difficulty in understanding the speaker at times. We apologize in advance.


President Thomas Jefferson said, “€œ I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves. And if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion the remedy is not to take it from them but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power.”€


That’s why we do Foundations of Freedom Thursdays here on WallBuilders Live. Welcome to the intersection of faith and the culture.  It’s called WallBuilders Live where we talk about today’s hottest topics on policy, faith, and culture.

All from a Biblical historical and constitutional perspective. We here with David Barton America’s premiere historian.  And my name is Rick Green. I’m a former Texas state representative.

What we’re talking about on Foundations of Freedom Thursday are those foundational principles, Constitution, Declaration of what the Founding Fathers did, and what they would probably do today with some of the circumstances we’re facing.   We do all that based on your questions.  So if you’ve got some questions about these subjects please send them into [email protected].

You can find out more on and In fact, these programs that we do on Thursdays on freedoms and foundational principles, we have all of our Programs on our website.  You can go back several weeks and grab some more of those if you”€™d like by visiting

So, David, we’ve got a lot of questions to get to today.  Are you ready for the first one?




Alright, this one comes from Walter Dimmick who says, “€œY’all are a great blessing to my wife and me. She hated history until we saw David Barton on the Glenn Beck show when he was on Fox, Founders  on Friday.”€

Founding Fathers with Glenn Beck and David Barton Has Returned!


Yeah, that was a program we did called Founders Friday.  On Founders Friday I fly up to New York City to be with Beck.  And we would go through and look at Founding Fathers or people from the Founding era that nobody heard about.

We did these black history programs on black Founding Fathers.  We did them and Jewish folks.  We did them on women and so many others that nobody’s heard about.  And even Hispanics in the American Revolution that nobody’s ever heard about.

It was amazing.  Beck’s program was one of the highest rated programs on Fox.  And Founders Fridays were the highest rated programs of Beck’s programs.  So it was super popular. People have been writing him for years to bring it back.  So now over Blaze TV, which is on a number of cable networks, we”€™ve started them again.

We just finished taping several that cover all of Black History Month.  So they go on once a week.  They are now back to history.  They are super popular. So that’s what he”€™s talking about when he mentions Founders Fridays.


In fact, that was his next line.  He said that he was looking forward to Founders Friday coming to the Blaze. So, folks, you can get that there on the Blaze. He goes on to say, “€œWe’ve been teaching a class for the last five years in our church called, “€˜America’s Godly Heritage,”€™ a title we borrowed from you.  And we make use of all your videos and the Founders Bible in these weekly presentations. The most common comment that we get is, “€œI’ve never heard that before.”€

Black History What We Haven’t Heard

David, that’s so true.  For the 15-16 years I’ve been working with you and going out and doing presentations for you and using your material that’s what people always say. They always come up to the table to say, “€œI never heard that. Thank you for sharing that.”€ So a very common comment.


It was funny too.  When we were making those on Fox there was a number of great black folk that were working there doing makeup, cameras, sound, and etc.  And as we recorded Black Founders Friday they got really, really angry.  Beck and I were both concerned that they were really mad at us.

But they said, “€œNo we’re not mad at you! We’ve just never heard this before! This really ticks me off that I went all the way through school and never heard about these guys.”€ Even this week we were going through Harry Hosier and again it was the same thing.  “€œHow come I’ve never heard of them?”€

It”€™s exactly right, Rick, what he said. You know people just say, “€œI’ve never heard that before.”€  There are such good stories in American history that we just don’t hear today.

Getting The Court’s Attention


No doubt! And it does upset you because you feel like you’ve been lied to.  Well, you have been lied to all your life through the typical education system. Well, Walter goes on to say, “€œWe both thank you for the inspiration to learn and teach history as a story that needed to be told.

My question is concerning the First Amendment. I was recently in a discussion on House Resolution 2802, the First Amendment Defense Act, a congressional response to the courts who are redefining marriage and the LGBTQ rights.

LGBTQ Rights

It appears to be a good idea, but isn’t it redundant? The First Amendment’s original intent is clearly defined by our Founders writings. Unfortunately, the courts do not follow the original intent of the First Amendment. If the law is signed into law by President Trump would more lawsuits involving the rights of conscience rise since all laws like this one are usually challenged by the Left? Is there another way to get the attention of the courts on the First Amendment’s original intent other than the slow process of replacing them as vacancies arise?”€

Great set of questions there from Walter. David, we”€™ve got to take a quick break.  We’ll come back and answer those. But what he is really asking is, “€œIs there a way to get the court’s attention rather than having to wait for a judge to retire? Can you get them to just follow original intent?”€ We’ll be right back.  Stay with us here on WallBuilders Live!

Samuel Adams

Samuel Adams said, “€œThe liberties of our country and the freedom of our civil Constitution are worth defending against all hazards. And it is our duty to defend them against all attacks.”€

Dove Channel

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George Washington

George Washington said, “€œThe Constitution approaches near to perfection than any other government instituted among men.”€

The Three Reasons It”€™s Hard To Get The Court’s Attention


Welcome back.  Thanks for staying with us here on WallBuilders Live Foundations of Freedom Thursday. We’re taking your questions.  The first one from Walter David specifically on the First Amendment and how to get the court’s attention to follow the original intent of The First Amendment?


Well let’s answer the last question first.  Then we’ll go back to The First Amendment Defense Act question. It’s hard to get the court’s attention to do the right thing, number one, if they don’t know what the right thing is.

Number two, if they don’t want to know what the right thing is.

Number three, if they vehemently disagree with what the right thing is. That’s what we find most often in judges, “€œWell, I wasn’t taught that in law school.”€ or “€œI don’t even care what they said back then because all I care about is what we do right now.”€ or “€œThat’s what they said back then.  And I hate it because I think they’re all a bunch of racist bigots.”€

Those are three reactions you get.  And if you do get that reaction from a judge it doesn’t matter what you show them about original intent.  It doesn’t matter what you tell them about the First Amendment and what it was designed to do.  They’re going to find a way to get around it.

As Thomas Jefferson said, “€œThey will turn the Constitution into a thing of wax which they may twist and shape into any form they please. They are looking for a reason not to follow the Constitution.”€

Getting A Judge To Do What”€™s Right

Now, on the other hand, you do have those that follow what they think it is.  If you can provide them good information, then you get good decisions at times if you can show they’re wrong. That’s why briefs, particularly with the Supreme Court, is why we’re often asked to do briefs and give information to the court to show them what original intent was.

And sometimes you get judges that say, “€œMan, I didn’t know that.Well, if that’s what it really meant then let’s do it the right way.  Because I took an oath to uphold the Constitution.”€ But those are the rare judges among the others.

So what you have to do at this point at times is you have to choose the right judges going in.  Get them on the court.  And make sure you check their worldview before they get there. That”€™s certainly one of the things that we’ll be trying to work with over the next four years for sure. We’ve got nearly 100 vacancies on the court of appeals.  Those are huge things. You really want to screen those folks and make sure you get the right world view. Same with vacancies that will be on the Supreme Court that may appear.  You want the right folks.

There’s no question that Congress has the power to be able to get judges under control if they render bad decisions.  That’s an easy thing to do unless you don’t know the Constitution, history, or you don’t have the backbone to stand up and take on the New York Times, The Washington Post, and The L.A. Times when they start beating you up for doing that.  So that’s the political aspect of it that makes it very, very difficult.

The First Amendment Defense Act”€™s Importance

Now, on the other hand in answering the first question, “€œWhy would you need a First Amendment Defense Act if you’ve already got the First Amendment?”€ The answer to that is, most judges really don’t go off what the First Amendment says.  They go on what the courts have said about the First Amendment.

So rather than reading the First Amendment, they will read the decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court on the First Amendment.  And they feel bound to uphold the decisions of the court. One thing that you find about the courts is they are pretty good at following new laws until they get them all twisted up.

The First Amendment Defense Act is designed around this concept that the First Amendment is supposed to protect your rights of conscience. Therefore if you are a baker, a photographer, or a florist and your rights of conscience say, “€œGod doesn’t want me to participate in a homosexual wedding.”€ That’s protected by the First Amendment unless you’re in the current court system today where they say, “€œNo, you have to give way to two new interpretations.”€

But if Congress comes out with a specific law that says, “€œYou have to give deference to the rights of conscience including those that relate to LGBTQ issues.”€ Then the courts are more likely to say, “€œOk, we now have to reinterpret the First Amendment in the light of this new law.”€

Now over time, they will do to that law exactly what they did to the First Amendment.

The First Amendment Defense Act Allows A Reprieve

The First Amendment is clear as it can be, the history behind the First Amendment is as clear as it can be.  But where it is today is nothing where it was 40 years ago or where it was when the Founding Fathers wrote it.

They will find a way to make it a thing of wax which they twist and shape. What it does is it gives you a reprieve of 10-20 years. In that period of time you hope that you can reshape the thinking of the culture.  You can get better judges on the courts, and etc.  You really get sort of a reprieve is what it amounts to.

But short of getting law schools turned around, getting judges thinking right, and getting them away from a living Constitution concept and back to an original intent concept, which then means they have to have schools that teach them the original intent which is very hard to find today. It is kind of an uphill battle.  And that’s why you need things like the First Amendment Defense Act to be able to give you some type of reprieve against the intrusion of the courts against the original intent.


We’re going to take a quick break.  We’ve got more of your questions for our Foundations of Freedom Thursday program.Stay with us here on WallBuilders Live.

Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson said, “€œ In questions of power then let no more be heard of confidence in the man that bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution.”€

Bring A Speaker To Your Area


Hey, this is Tim Barton with WallBuilders.  And as you’ve had the opportunity to listen to WallBuilders Live, you’ve probably heard a wealth of information about our nation, about our spiritual heritage, about the religious liberties, and about all the things that make America exceptional. And you might be thinking, “€œAs incredible as this information is, I wish there was a way that I could get one of the WallBuilders guys to come to my area and share with my group.”€

Whether it be a church, whether it be a Christian school, or public school, or some political event, or activity, if you’re interested in having a WallBuilders speaker come to your area, you can get on our website at and there’s a tab for scheduling. If you”€™ll click on that tab, you’ll notice there’s a list of information from speakers bio’s, to events that are already going on. And there’s a section where you can request an event, to bring this information about who we are, where we came from, our religious liberties, and freedoms. Go to the WallBuilders website and bring a speaker to your area.

The Constitution

Thomas Jefferson said, “€œThe Constitution of most of our states and of the United States assert that all power is inherent in the people that they may exercise it by themselves, that it is their right and duty to be at all times armed. That they are entitled to freedom of person, freedom of religion, freedom of property, and freedom of press.”€

Did Slaves Build The White House


Welcome back to WallBuilders Live Foundations of Freedom Thursday. Our next question is from you the audience.  This one comes from Bruce in Illinois.

He says, “€œHey guys I was just wondering Michelle Obama keeps saying that slaves built the White House. I was reading an article that foreigners, people from other states, free men and enslaved men, both, built it and that everyone was paid. So I posted it on Facebook.  And someone said it was just slaves because no one else wanted to do it. Nobody seemed to know the correct answer.  So I thought you guys might know. Thanks and God bless America.”€

Good question, David.  What do we know about the folks that built the White House?


Is this the same Michelle Obama that lived in the White House who said slaves built it?


She should know right?


Well, she might want to check The White House Historical Association Website, which says that it was blacks, slave and free, as well as white laborers. Here”€™s the quote, “€œWhite laborers and artisans from Maryland and Virginia, as well as immigrants from Ireland, Scotland, and other European nations that built it.”€

We have the link on our website so y”€™all can take a look. So I think the White House Historical Association has pretty clear documentation that it was slave and free blacks and whites that all built the White House.  This is the current way we teach black history is the only blacks that ever lived in America were slave blacks.  There was never another black that lived in America. Again, that”€™s why when we do programs like Founders Fridays on Fox and on the Blaze, etc.  People just get shocked because all they’ve been taught is how bad American history was and how it was filled with slavery.

Things They Don”€™t Tell You About Black History

As a matter of fact, just recently opened up was the new African-American Museum on the Mall, part of the Smithsonian system. At this point, if you want to see that museum tickets are sold out for the next four months.  You’ll have to wait four months before you get a chance to go into that museum.

Tim got a ticket, went through the museum, and it is a memorial, not the black history but it is a memorial to racism and slavery. You find out according to the museum, that the Constitution the United States it was a pro-slavery document that promoted slavery.

Never mind that they can’t show you a clause out of there.  And never mind that”€™s what Frederick Douglass believed because he had been told that.  And he said that when he read the Constitution for himself it was a startling revelation that he said that every clause in the Constitution was an anti-slavery clause.

“€œBut let’s not talk about Frederick Douglass. Let’s talk about how the Constitution promotes slavery.”€ There were no abolitionist until 1820.  Really?  What do you do with all the abolitionists among the Pilgrims and Puritans back in 1643 when they imprisoned slave owners and freed the slaves?

What do you do with the abolitionists among the Quakers that got started in the Great Awakening.  Particularly John Waldman, when he toured Virginia and started the Quakers as one of the most fierce abolitionist denominations in the nation.

What do you do with Benjamin Franklin and Benjamin Rush, two signers of the Declaration who started the anti-slavery movement in American 1774.  And Benjamin Rush who’d headed the National anti-slavery movement? What do you do?

“No, no, no, that didn’t exist.  It was all about slavery.  Everybody was for slavery.”

American History In Black and White, Setting the Record Straight

In that museum, you’ll also see that they say that John Quincy Adams didn’t believe that blacks and whites are equal. Wait a minute.  Is that the same John Quincy Adams that argued the armistice case? Who went into the court and kept pointing to the Declaration of Independence and kept saying, “€œThat document says “€˜All men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with liberty.”€™ And that is the position that the United States.'”€  Is that the same John Quincy Adams?

This museum is absolutely abominable indoctrination! Which is the same thing, at least by this question, that Michelle Obama is repeating.   Maybe she visited that museum.  You’re getting a part of history.  But you’re not getting all of history.

Yes, some of that did happen. Now, the facts are wrong.  John Quincy Adams was not that way. You did have abolitionists before 1820. The Constitution does not promote slavery.  

Yes, there was slavery, but there was also a lot of free blacks and a lot of black heroes that were free that we never talk about anymore. So to answer the question specifically, no, it’s not true that just blacks built the White House.  All Michelle Obama needs to do is check the White House Historical Association website and she will see the documentation for the rest of it.


In fact, I think one of the greatest pieces of work that you’ve ever put out is American History In Black and White, Setting the Record Straight. You bring some of those great black heroes in early American history to light. You tell the truth about the political parties with regard to this very issue.

That is actually available on our website so people can learn more. Also during Black History Month, we’re going to share a lot of that on the radio program so people will learn a lot during that week.  We will share from that or from that particular video.

So Bruce, great question.  Appreciate you sending that in! Other folks who want to send in questions, send you questions to [email protected]. Quick break.  We’ll come back.  I think we got time for one more question.  Stay tuned on WallBuilders Live! 

Calvin Coolidge

President Calvin Coolidge said, “€œThe more I study the Constitution, the more I realize that no other document devised by the hand of man has brought so much progress and happiness to humanity. To live under the American Constitution is the greatest political privilege that was ever accorded to the human race.”€

DVD On Common Core


Hi, friends! This is David Barton of WallBuilders. The current condition of education in America is abysmal. Not only is educational achievement plummeting, but every year, some 19 percent of high school seniors who graduate is completely illiterate. They can”€™t read at all but it was not always this way.

For generations, we taught students how to think. But after the progressives took over education in the early 20th century, things began to radically change. Education shifted from thinking to learning, which made the emphasis on the teachers rather than the students. And that elevated indoctrination above knowledge.

At that time, progressives also made massive changes in the way we tested students. They extended school from 8 to 12 years. They introduced graded education and they added compulsory education. Statistics prove that these changes have harmed education rather than helped it. And now the progressives are pushing common core.

In our new DVD on common core, we give you eight reasons why this current approach is so dangerous to our kids and our culture. We also show you an amazing history of education. So get this new DVD at

Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln said, “€œWe the people are the rightful masters of both Congress and the courts, not to overthrow the Constitution but to overthrow the men who pervert the Constitution.”€

Knowledge of History Now Vs. In The Past


Welcome back.  Thanks for staying with us on WallBuilders Live. Taking your questions on this Foundations of Freedom Thursday and the next one comes from Linda.

It says, “€œHey guys, I cannot thank you enough for all you do to rebuild the walls, restore the culture, and preserve our true history and heritage.  I’ve learned so much from your program as well as your video sets and books and try to share them whenever I can. When I mentioned the deplorable state of education and general knowledge of history now versus, in the past, I hear that literacy rates were always very low and only the elites were educated, could read, and understand the issues.

Same when I discuss the revolution. It was the translation of the Bible into common languages and the printing press. I’ve tried to research literacy rates throughout history but couldn’t find anything. Can you please shed some light and provide some data I can cite and maybe even some sources for documentation on this topic? Thanks!”  Linda Daniel.

Linda,  great question.  Thanks for sending that in.

So, David, people seemed to think we’re more educated today than we would have been in the Founding era because of literacy rates. What have you found? You’ve got the largest collection of Founding Fathers documents.  You’ve got a lot of those documents to go through. What was the literacy rate like back then?

What Is Happening To American Education


Well, let’s talk about the literacy rate right now and then we’ll go back then. In 1962 America was number one in the world in literacy. Thirty years later we had fallen to 62 in the world. There are 23 major industrial nations so we’ve fallen below the rate of a lot of third world nations.

What Caused The Decrease In American Literacy


It seems like something must have changed in education during that time frame. We took God out.  And we created the Federal Department of Education.


We took God out in 1962.  And that’s when you will find the literacy rates begin to violently change. And in 1976 we said, “€œWe need a Federal Department of Education.”€ So they continued to plummet after that.

Right now I think we’re like 42 or 45 in the world.  I forget the exact number.  So we’re still really terrible.

Currently, in our public education system right now we average in the vicinity of about $14,000 that we spend to educate a student from first to 12th grade.  But over the last 10 years 19% of all the students that we graduate are 100% illiterate. They cannot even read their own diploma. So with one of the highest economic spending rates in the world on education we have terrible literacy rates.

Let’s compare that with back in the day.  She was told, “€œIt was always been the same as the contention.  And there’s been no change.”€

Are You Smarter Than A 1782 5th Grader

Let me take you back to, for example, 1765. Here is John Adam”€™s quote, “€œA native of America who cannot read and write is as rare an appearance as a comet or an earthquake.”€ Now, in New England how often do you see a comet or an earthquake? When you do, that’s how often you see an illiterate person.

So, clearly, I would say that the literacy rates were much higher back then. You can also go to academic books.  In the book that we did called The Jefferson Lies one of the footnotes in that book goes through this issue of literacy. There are people like Kenneth A. Lockridge who has a book called Literacy In Colonial New England. Here’s another book by Lawrence A. Cremin, great educator, has one called American Education, The Colonial Experience 1607 to 1783. He shows that the literacy rate by the 1750s was up to 100%. Another Samuel Eliot Morison, another great intellectual scholar, it’s called The Intellectual Life of Colonial New England. So there’s plenty of books out there that cover the literacy rates and show how high they were and how high above the rest of the world that America was.

If you doubt that, then what you need to do is go get one of the old blue back spellers of Noah Webster. You can look at on them online, on Google.  You can see them or download a PDF for yourself. From 1782 when it was introduced until 1932, for 150 years, it was the book from which you learn to spell in America. It is called an elementary spelling book because that’s where you began. Try spelling some of the words that every kid in America learned to spell for 150 years.


Aww no way.  Wait, you did this to me on TV once.


It was embarrassing.


I failed miserably.

Test Your Skills


Yeah, I did it to you because I would have been embarrassed.  I wanted to embarrass you so I wouldn”€™t be embarrassed. Because I couldn’t spell that.  I can’t even pronounce some of the words in that book.  

Take 6th-grade arithmetics from 1848. I was a math and science teacher and I can’t answer some of the sixth-grade math questions from 1848. Take an eighth-grade exit exam out of Colorado in 1925 or out of Nebraska in 1912 or out of California. Take the 8th-grade exams. It’s postdoctoral stuff today.

So the nonsense about, “€œWell it’s always been low.”€ No, it’s not true. We have the documentation of that.  Again, The Jefferson Lies has that. But that’s something that educators today do to try to keep the pressure off them from being so incompetent in what they teach. And there are good educators out there but the system itself is broken and is a pretty dismal failure.


Well, folks,  you can find out more.  You ought to check out David’s DVD on Four Centuries of American Education.  It also talks about a lot of these details and the importance of us trying to make sure our own kids get a better education than just what the public education system is to going to provide.

So, lots of great materials at that you can supplement regardless of how your kids are being educated right now. Thanks for listening today, folks.   You’ve been listening to WallBuilders Live!

Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson said, “€œThe Constitution of most of our states and in the United States assert that all power is inherent in the people that they will exercise it by themselves. That is their right and duty to be at all times armed that they are entitled to freedom of person, freedom of religion, freedom of property, and freedom of press.”€