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University of Virginia Student Op-Ed: Take Down Jefferson Statues

University of Virginia Student Op-Ed: Take Down Jefferson Statues

“the most prominent Jefferson statues on Grounds belong to the same historical project as the Lee statue on Market Street — glorifying slaveholders”

No one is talking about statues of Jefferson and Washington, they said.

From the Cavalier Daily:

Take down Jefferson statues

At the unveiling of the statue of Thomas Jefferson in front of the Rotunda, former University President Edwin Alderman praised sculptor Moses Jacob Ezekiel for being a “soldier of Lee” and heralded Jefferson for his “self-sacrifice.” Left unmentioned by President Alderman was slavery. Indeed, of the four men to speak at the statue’s 1910 unveiling, only one — Board of Visitors member Daniel Harmon — made even a passing reference to slavery, calling it “the thraldom of those ancient laws.”

More than a century later, protesters shrouded the bronze Jefferson in black fabric — a response to the Unite the Right rally of Aug. 11-12, 2017. At the time, the Editorial Board of The Cavalier Daily’s 128th term reflexively defended Jefferson as “deserving of commemoration,” distinguishing him from Confederate General Robert E. Lee. Yet the most prominent Jefferson statues on Grounds belong to the same historical project as the Lee statue on Market Street — glorifying slaveholders in the Jim Crow South.

The unveiling of Ezekiel’s Jefferson statue in front of the Rotunda provides the most salient document of the statues’ historical project, but other evidence abounds. Although Ezekiel eventually characterized slavery as “evil,” he grew up in a slaveholding household that dressed enslaved people for auctions. During the war, he served as a Confederate private, later feeling “humiliation” as he witnessed “set-free Negroes.” Long after the war, Ezekiel called the Confederacy a “lost but righteous cause,” kept a Confederate flag over his bed and considered a Lee monument “the one work [he] would love to do above anything else in the world.”…

Maybe the University can acknowledge Jefferson on Grounds without glorifying him, but statues made to glorify Jefferson perpetuate a false history.

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Comments

Morning Sunshine | September 5, 2020 at 12:57 pm

In response, tell them to go read Jefferson’s exact words – primary source documents – on slavery. Then come back when they have educated themselves. At that point, if they still feel the same, we can have an educated discussion.

bonus: in order to read the Original Jefferson, they will need to improve their English comprehension skills and learn some actual factual history.

Jefferson wrote his own epitaph. In it he mentioned a few of what he considered his accomplishments. He didn’t list his tenure as President, but he did include authorship of the Declaration of Independence (which became official fifty years—to the day—before his death). And he listed his founding of the University of Virginia.

Without Jefferson there’s no University. Banishing his statue would be a crime as close to parricide as these malignant leeches can get. No school should tolerate even a suggestion of such behavior.

the simple fact is that all these aggreived little snowflakes/shytflakes, etc. can’t bear the example of genuine accomplishment set by jefferson, et al–he set the bar very high indeed for personal achievement/enlightment/service to his country–nothing these little snowflakes/shytflakes ever do will come even remotely close and they know it

he was a man for the ages

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