WASHINGTON, Dec. 28 (UPI) -- When Barack Obama takes the oath of office, becoming the first African-American U.S. president, he will be standing amid stonework laid by slaves.
The former Illinois senator will also appear on Inauguration Day on the National Mall , where slaves were once held in pens before going up for auction, The Boston Globe reported Sunday.
The Globe said the 200-year-old story of slavery in the nation's capital remains beneath the surface, noting there is no memorial at the spot near the Capitol where slaves were once kept and sold in a three-story building called the Yellow House.
"Many people come down to the National Mall and never realize that they are walking on the site of the slave markets," said Jesse J. Holland, author of the recent book, "Black Men Built the Capitol."
Obama is the son of a black African father and a white Kansan mother. His wife Michelle has a direct connection to the nation's slavery history. Her great-great grandfather, on her father's side, was born into slavery and is believed to have lived in a small cabin at a coastal South Carolina rice plantation.
Some say the story of slavery in the United States will come full circle with Obama's inauguration.
"It is an affirmation of the whole democratic ideal in American history," said historian William Seale, author of "The President's House."