Tags: George Floyd Protests | Presidential History | monticello | thomas jefferson | jefferson memorial | cancel culture | slavery

Jefferson Descendant Says to 'Take Down His Memorial'

a red moon sets behind the jefferson memorial in washington, dee see
The Jefferson Memorial in Washington, D.C. (Bill Ingalls/Getty Images)

By    |   Tuesday, 07 July 2020 04:53 PM

A descendant of Thomas Jefferson is demanding the National Park Service remove the Jefferson Memorial in Washington, D.C.

Lucian K. Truscott IV, a journalist and descendant of Jefferson, wrote an op-ed in The New York Times that talked about how many of his relatives are buried on the property of the third president's home in Monticello.

"As a memorial to Jefferson himself, [Monticello is] almost perfect" Truscott wrote. "And that is why his memorial in Washington should be taken down and replaced. Described by the National Park Service as 'a shrine to freedom,' it is anything but.

Truscott continued, "The memorial is a shrine to a man who during his lifetime owned more than 600 slaves and had at least six children with one of them, Sally Hemings. It's a shrine to a man who famously wrote that 'all men are created equal' in the Declaration of Independence that founded this nation — and yet never did much to make those words come true."

He wrote the memorial in Washington does not tell visitors what it should about Jefferson's role in slavery. He does, however, acknowledge one display at Monticello that reflects Jefferson's connection to slavery, "an exhibit of Sally Hemings's bedroom in her cavelike living quarters," along with information about other enslaved people.

"Upon his death, he did not free the people he enslaved, other than those in the Hemings family, some of whom were his own children," Truscott said. "He sold everyone else to pay off his debts."

The death of George Floyd in Minneapolis has largely driven the recent removal of statues depicting prominent figures in U.S. history. Protestors have already toppled a statue of Christopher Columbus in Baltimore and other statues around the country. Many people have called for the toppling of former President George Washington's monuments.

"A tour of Monticello these days will tell you that it was designed by Jefferson and built by the people he enslaved; it will point out joinery and furniture built by Sally's brother, John Hemings. Today, there are displays of rebuilt cabins and barns where those enslaved lived and worked," Truscott wrote.

Instead of honoring Jefferson, Truscott has called for a statue of enslaved Black woman turned emancipator Harriet Tubman to take his place.

"To see a 19-foot-tall bronze statue of a Black woman, who was a slave and also a patriot, in place of a white man who enslaved hundreds of men and women is not erasing history," Truscott said. "It's telling the real history of America."

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The National Park Service should remove the Jefferson Memorial in Washington, D.C., a descendant of Thomas Jefferson is demanding.
monticello, thomas jefferson, jefferson memorial, cancel culture, slavery
Tuesday, 07 July 2020 04:53 PM
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