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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