The 19 Panels
The sequence of scenes begins over the west door and moves clockwise around the Rotunda
Born to an enslaved mother and unidentified white father in Talbot County, Maryland, in early 1818, he was first named Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey. In the first two decades of his life, he was given, lent, or hired out to various masters, but he also learned to read and write after a white woman taught him the alphabet. Reading books and newspapers gave him a new perspective on slavery that was doubtlessly reinforced by his time with an especially brutal "slave-breaker," and he dedicated himself to becoming a free man.
Sojourner Truth Bust
The woman whom history remembers as Sojourner Truth was born Isabella Baumfree in 1797. Her parents, James and Elizabeth Baumfree, were slaves on an estate in Ulster County, New York, north of New York City. She was one of 13 children and grew up speaking Dutch. She was first sold at auction around the age of 9. In 1815 she bore her first child, a daughter, to a slave named from a neighboring farm whose owner forbade them to marry. Two years later Isabella's owner compelled her to marry one of his own slaves, with whom she had a son and three daughters.
Martin Luther King Jr. Bust
Martin Luther King Jr. (MLK Jr.) born in 1929 to a family of pastors and civil rights leaders, received a B.A. degree from Morehouse College in 1948, a B.D. degree from Crozer Theological Seminary in Pennsylvania in 1951 and a Ph.D. from Boston University in 1955. He returned to Montgomery, Alabama, to work for civil rights while serving as pastor of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church.
Rosa Parks' statue was unveiled in National Statuary Hall of the United States Capitol, approximately 100 years after her birth on February 4, 1913. This statue depicts Parks seated on a rock-like formation of which she seems almost a part, symbolizing her famous refusal to give up her bus seat in 1955.
Slave Labor Commemorative Marker
On Tuesday, February 28, 2012, Congress unveiled a marker to commemorate the important role played by laborers, including enslaved African Americans, in building the United States Capitol. Their contributions were essential for the constructing what would later become known as the Temple of Liberty.