Philip Reid was born a slave around 1820 in Charleston, South Carolina. He came to be a master craftsman and artisan. He played a key role in the casting of the Statue of Freedom atop the United States Capitol at Washington D.C.The Statue of Freedom, the crowning feature atop the dome of the U.S. Capitol, was hoisted into place on December 2, 1863, amid great celebration and a 35-gun salute. Commissioned in 1855, the full-size plaster model of Freedom was completed by American sculptor Thomas Crawford in his studio in Rome, Italy, but he died suddenly in 1857 before the model left his studio. His widow shipped the model, packed into six crates and the model finally arrived in Washington in late March 1859. The model was then assembled and put on display in the Old Hall of the House, now National Statuary Hall.In May 1860, self-taught sculptor Clark Mills was awarded the contract by the Secretary of War to cast Freedom at his foundry off Bladensburg Road, just inside the District of Columbia. In June 1860, casting of the statue began. The first step was to disassemble the plaster model for the statue into its five main sections in order to move it from the Capitol to the foundry. After its arrival at the Capitol, an Italian sculptor, according to Mills's son Fisk, was hired to assemble it. However, when the time came to separate the sections, the Italian sculptor refused to help unless given a pay raise. Fortunately, Philip Reid figured out that using a pulley and tackle to pull up on the lifting ring at the top of the model would reveal the joints between the sections. The statue was successfully separated into its five sections and transported to Mills's Foundry.The government rented Mills’s foundry for $400 a month and supplied the materials,fuel, and labor to cast the statue. Because of this arrangement, the names of the craftsmen and laborers were recorded each day in Mills’s monthly report. Philip Reid was listed as a “laborer” and was paid $1.25 a day, while other laborers were paid $1 day. There is no evidence that any of other men listed as laborers were black or enslaved. An enslaved worker was paid directly if he worked on Sunday; his owner received the payment for his work the other six days. Only Philip Reid was paid directly by the government for working on 33 Sundays.On April 16, 1862, President Abraham Lincoln signed an act abolishing involuntary servitude in the District of Columbia, and district slave owners were allowed to petition for compensation. Clark Mills petitioned for compensation for eleven slaves, including Philip Reid, and included a description of Reid in the petition. Mills wrote that Reid was “aged 42 years, mullatto [sic] color, short in statue, in good health, not prepossessing in appearance but smart in mind, a good workman in a foundry…” Mills asked $1500 for Reid, but received only $350.40. It is not known if Reid witnessed the assembly of the Statue of Freedom atop the Capitol Dome, but he was a free man when the last piece was put into place in December 1863. Two years later, in 1865, author S.D. Wyeth wrote in The Federal City, “Mr. Reed [as his name was spelled during the rest of his life], the former slave, is now in business for himself, and highly esteemed by all who know him.” Philip Reed was listed in city directories and census records as a “plasterer.” In 1870 he was listed along with a wife, Jane, whom he had married in June 1862, and a two-year old son. In 1880 his wife was listed as Mary P., a laundress.Death records state that he lived into his seventies and died on February 6, 1892. Though he was initially laid to rest at Graceland Cemetery within view of the Capitol, research revealed that Philip Reid was disinterred and reburied in Columbia Harmony Cemetery in 1895. This cycle repeated itself when he was disinterred and reburied in National Harmony Memorial Park in 1959. On April 16, 2014, the 152nd anniversary of Emancipation in Washington, D.C., a memorial plaque was dedicated to Philip Reed in the cemetery that is now his final resting place.