Monuments Suggestion

Before someone tears down the Jefferson Memorial, let me suggest a way out of this memorials controversy in which the nation is embroiled. First. for example, let’s recognize that Jefferson did much to help establish our country. In addition to writing the Declaration of Independence and serving as our third President , he did things like establishing the University of Virginia and donating hundreds of books to reestablish the library of congress after the British burned Washington in the War of 1812. As a Virginia plantation owner, though, he also owned people who had been enslaved.

Those enslaved people worked the land that provided Jefferson the wherewithal to go to Philadelphia as a member of the Virginia delegation to the Continental Congress. He was away from home for quite a while, but didn’t need to worry about his financial security. His lands were still producing because of the hardworking people farming his land while he was away.

With this in mind, the Jefferson Memorial, among others, is simply incomplete. What is lacking is a statue showing these enslaved people accompanied by acknowledgment of their role in making it possible for Jefferson to contribute to the country’s founding. If there’s no practical way to alter the memorial, then those people should have their own prominent memorial.

The same situation applies as well to George Washington whose security owed much to the enslaved people who worked his land during his prolonged absence to lead the war effort and to serve as President.

So rather than shrouding memorials or tearing them down, let’s complete them and add acknowledgment of the contributions of all our forebears.

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