This Is Why the statue Of Thomas Jefferson Will Be Removed

Published October 19th, 2021 - 08:03 GMT
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Highlights
New York City officials have voted to remove a century-old statue of Thomas Jefferson from City Hall because it was making some staff feel 'uncomfortable'.

Thomas Jefferson was an American statesman, diplomat, lawyer, architect, musician, philosopher, and Founding Father who served as the third president of the United States from 1801 to 1809. 

Yet, Jefferson acquired most of the over six hundred people he owned during his life through the natural increase of enslaved families.

During a lengthy hearing Monday,  the Public Design Commission voted to remove the statue before the end of the year, although they could not agree on a new location.

The City Council’s Black, Latino and Asian caucus has objected to the presidential statute for years because Jefferson was a slave owner. 

But the request for its removal came from the Commission on Racial Justice and Reconciliation, led by outgoing Mayor Bill de Blasio's wife Charlene McCray after black staff complained about the statue that honors a slave owner. 

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio 'waged war' on the nation's history by deciding to banish the statue of Founding Father Thomas Jefferson from City Hall - where it has presided over events for 187 years - after a request from his wife-led BLM committee. 

Before the commission made its decision, Democratic mayoral candidate Eric Adams said that he hoped the commission would consider 'uplifting underrepresented faces and communities' by removing the statue and that he supported its removal.

Republican politicians quickly railed against the latest move to rewrite history by booting the statue of the former president who wrote the Declaration of Independence.  

'The de Blasio administration will continue the progressive war on history as he, himself, fades away into a portrait on a City Hall wall,' Councilman Joe Borelli told the New York Post.

'I hope he is at least gone a couple hundred years before someone cancels him.'

The statue had resided in the City Hall's Council chambers since 1834 after it was gifted by Uriah Phillips Levy, a naval officer and an admirer of Jefferson's.  

'The city would still own the plaster model, and the historical society would include it in educational exhibits and provide valuable historical context,' the spokesman said. 

Councilman I. Daneek Miller, a Democrat, defended exiling the statue and said the loan is 'indefinite.'

'There’s so much about Thomas Jefferson and his own personal writings, memoirs about how he treated his slaves, his family members and things of that nature and how he perceived African Americans and slaves — that they lacked intelligence, that they were not to assimilate into society,' Miller told The Post.

'For us to really highlight such an individual is really not who we are as a council.'  

Miller added that the statue is expected to be removed from City Hall by October 21. 

In a comment to DailyMail.com, the New York Historical Society said they have not made official arrangements for the statue as of yet.

'We are in ongoing discussions about the statue. While there are no specific plans for display at the moment, New-York Historical might in future years present an exhibition that may include it.'

McCray, the head of the Commission on Racial Justice and Reconciliation, had made the decision to remove the statute following a meeting in June 2020.

The RRC was organized to 'promote social learning, collective introspection, and policy action' as well as create a historical record of racial discrimination, with an emphasis on housing, criminal justice, environmental racism, and public health' in the wake of protests over George Floyd's death.

DailyMail.com reached out to De Blasio's press office for comment. 

De Blasio had previously written a letter to City Hall following his wife's suggestion.

'The statue of Thomas Jefferson in the City Council Chambers is inappropriate and serves as a constant reminder of the injustices that have plagued communities of color since the inception of our country,' he wrote.

'Jefferson is America’s most noted slave holder... and a scholar who maintained that Blacks were inferior to whites.'

The letter dated June 18, 2020, was signed by de Blasio and fellow Council members. 

Other statues of Jefferson and fellow historical figures who had an alleged racist pasts were publicly seen being vandalized and taken down during the BLM movement.

A statue of the Founding Father was toppled on June 14, 2020 at Portland High School in Oregon by a group of protesters.

Footage of the vandalism revealed protesters tying a rope around the neck of the statue to bring it down as well as using a hammer to loosen the base of the structure.

The statue was also covered in graffiti reading 'Black Lives Matter' and 'George Floyd 8:46' in reference to the amount of time former Minneapolis Officer Derek Chauvin had knelt on his neck for.

A replica of the statue in the Capitol Rotunda in Washington D.C. will continue to be on display. 

Jefferson was considered the largest slaveholder during his day with over 600 slaves at this Virginia home.  


© Associated Newspapers Ltd.

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