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This historic house museum, completed in 1818 for white naval hero Stephen Decatur and his wife Susan, contains one of Washington's few remaining slave quarters.

The two-story service wing, where enslaved people lived and worked, runs along the H Street side of the house and now serves as the exhibit gallery and gift shop. Its fireplace has been recently uncovered and is on view for visitors. A permanent exhibit tells the story of Charlotte Dupuy, who grew up enslaved in Kentucky, married Aaron Dupuy, also enslaved. The Dupuys and their two children were owned by U.S. Representative Henry Clay, who moved the family to this house in Washington in 1827. In 1829 Charlotte filed a lawsuit petitioning for the freedom of herself and her two children. The suit was based on her claim that the man who sold her to Henry Clay had promised her freedom after a specified period of time. The court rejected her claim. Eleven years later, she secured her freedom while living in New Orleans with Henry Clay's daughter.

The house was designed by Benjamin Henry Latrobe, the white architect responsible for many of the city's earliest buildings, including St. John's Church, the Washington Navy Yard, and portions of the White House. It has been greatly altered over the years.


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