A “Disavowal of White Supremacy”: University of Virginia Newspaper Calls to Drop References to Thomas Jefferson

The Washington Post previously published a column of a George Washington student calling for George Washington University to be renamed. Now, in an August 11 editorial in The Cavalier Daily, the editors of the University of Virginia’s student paper are calling for all references to school founder Thomas Jefferson to stripped from the school. I have previously written about Jefferson’s history with slavery, including the call to remove the Jefferson memorial. Rather than remove memorials or references to Jefferson, this should remain part of a full and complete discussion of his history. Jefferson is indelibly part of the history of the university. Rather than cleanse the university of all references, his great contributions to the country can be placed in an accurate and frank context with his history of slavery.The university was founded in 1819 by Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson wrote to artist Charles Willson Peale that he wanted to design a school that would be so grand and inspirational that it could attract talented students from “other states to come, and drink of the cup of knowledge”.  He sought to structure the school along a Humboldtian model for a broad liberal arts education, including a rejection of the religious foundation for most other schools (like his alma mater William & Mary).  He played an active role in the design of buildings and the development of curriculum at the university.  He continued to invite faculty and students to his home for dinners and remained deeply involved in the development of the school to ensure that it would be a world-class educational institution.

The Cavalier Daily editors referenced UVA President Jim Ryan’s recent pronouncement about “the importance of preparing students to be citizen leaders” to demand that he “create a physical environment that reflects [a] commitment to equality and [a] disavowal of white supremacy.” Noting that the Charlottesville’s local Ku Klux Klan Chapter hosted its inauguration ceremony at Jefferson’s Monticello tomb, the editors objected that “there is a reason why they felt comfortable marching through Grounds. Our physical environment — from statues to building names to Jefferson’s overwhelming presence — exalts people who held the same beliefs as the repugnant white supremacists in attendance at the ‘Unite the Right’ rally.”

Accordingly, they declared “these buildings must be renamed and memorials removed.”

Some of us have been engaged in this debate for years. I called for the removal of some statues over two decades ago.  However, I have also opposed the removal of statues to leaders like Washington and Jefferson.  We learn from history not by wiping it away but placing it into context.  Washington and Jefferson are honored not because of their ownership of slaves but despite that terrible wrong.  Indeed, the history of both leaders on slavery is complex, particularly for Jefferson who sought to include the following statement that was deleted by pro-slavery delegates as a condition for voting for independence:

He has waged cruel war against human nature itself, violating its most sacred rights of life and liberty in the persons of a distant people who never offended him, captivating & carrying them into slavery in another hemisphere or to incur miserable death in their transportation thither.  This piratical warfare, the opprobrium of infidel powers, is the warfare of the Christian King of Great Britain.  Determined to keep open a market where Men should be bought & sold, he has prostituted his negative for suppressing every legislative attempt to prohibit or restrain this execrable commerce.  And that this assemblage of horrors might want no fact of distinguished die, he is now exciting those very people to rise in arms among us, and to purchase that liberty of which he has deprived them, by murdering the people on whom he has obtruded them: thus paying off former crimes committed again the Liberties of one people, with crimes which he urges them to commit against the lives of another.

Jefferson was a hypocrite on this issue and kept hundreds in bondage.  As we discussed recently, this part of his legacy is not ignored in tours at Monticello.

We can recognize this legacy without removing references to one of the most important figures in not just American but world history.

 

126 thoughts on “A “Disavowal of White Supremacy”: University of Virginia Newspaper Calls to Drop References to Thomas Jefferson”

  1. Rather than remove all reference to American founding fathers these students should apply to universities in the CCP.
    Oh, one thing they must stay there upon graduation.

  2. If the associations with Washington and Jefferson to these universities is so offensive, how did these snowflakes possibly choose to have their parents pay $100s of thousands to attend there?

  3. Turley can try all he wants but this is an exercise in futility. The barbarians are not at the “gate”; they have crashed the gate and have fully infected what was left western civilization. These “students” are the 21st Century version of the little Maoist revolutionaries that ruled China in the 1960’s. They are ignorant of history, culturally depraved, and devoid of humanity. Ninety nine percent of them could not differentiate Botticelli from Picasso, much less even recognized the name Bach. They would not know what the term Stasi means and probably could not tell you in what Century Lenin lived in.

    1. I work with two younger engineers(20’s). About a week ago, pi came up and I asked them, do either of you know how 3.14 is derived? Neither knew the simple answer. Depressing

      1. Jim22,

        There are still some good engineers coming out of school but they are harder and harder to find. If you are lucky enough to get one, take him/her under your wing because this is a necessary part of the equation; a novice engineer needs a mentor to show him the way.

  4. let ban the political party he founded….DEMOCRATS
    They can rename it….Fascists of America

  5. ….editorial in The Cavalier Daily, the editors of the University of Virginia’s student paper…

    https://www.linkedin.com/in/evasurovell

    About
    I am a fourth-year student at the University of Virginia studying English and French. My main involvement at UVA is with The Cavalier Daily, where I oversee the paper’s 400+ staff members as the editor-in-chief. After completing my undergraduate degree, I am looking forward to pursuing law school.

    Yet more proof that UVA is irrelevant. The Editor in Chief, Eva Surovell, is, wait for it, pasty, lily white. A mere 21 year English major who plans on applying to law school, she has an instagram account set to private. Declaring herself “radical” while attending a notoriously all white privileged university, shows her to be the hypocrite these little spoiled brats Marxists to be. Her one identifying feature on her IG account: planned barrenhood. but of course!

    Watch for Yale Law to offer her a seat in their indoctrination camp. Who knows, maybe she will beef up her right arm so as to throw molotov cocktails like other Yale law students. Che Guevara sends his best

    https://www.instagram.com/evasurovell/

    Eva Surovell she/her
    @cavalierdaily @ztauva
    “radical,” “inflammatory,” etc
    plannedparenthood.org

    1. RE:”Yet more proof that UVA is irrelevant…” Think again. Law school, where this brain-washing continues, appears to be the goal of of this lot. Perhaps Shakespeare was right…

  6. Considering the sheer amount of fragile, hypersensitized idiots universities keep churning out I’d say we would be better ff simply closing this, and many other schools outright rather than sanitizing their history.

    1. breecepeter

      Isn’t it great that your opinion gets published right next to the opinions of smarter and more accomplished posters?

      If you think that he is full of cr-p, then follow other writers.

      Or express your opinion politely.

      1. monumentcolorado: breecepeter just heaved his/her version of a written Molotov cocktail and then ran away. Politeness? That’s so ‘yesterday’.

  7. If we wipe all past history, are we doomed to repeat it? If future generations are not told about the warts of history, will they continue to look through rose colored glasses and possibly repeat? If you take away the past and only write about it in the present, how does one trust the present history? It takes a lot of research to write about the past. If it is wiped away, where does one research it? We weren’t, we aren’t perfect; We are better. But we need to be aware of the past to continue to grow.

  8. We don’t cancel great people due to one aspect of their life being worth condemnation. There seems to be no groundswell of calls to cancel MLK Day due to his serial abuse of women and reports that he laughed about it. His positive huge contribution to civl rights is worth honoring. Winston Churchill’s support and obsession for keeping British colonies was bad, but he is still considered a great man of the 20th century due to his leadership against the evils of Nazi and Soviet ideology and monstrosities.

  9. We are well into the 3rd generation of public school educated, idiots

    We see it everyday here in comments. simple constitutional concepts totally foreign to the large majority of the population.
    The WWII vets are dead or demented. there is no steady hand on the wheel to straighten this out.
    We are lead by glossy empty nobodies like Obama and Harris. Ignorant of all history.

    1. This are the same kids that believe in Communism. Believe in China. Believe in genocide and slavery today. But tip at this historic windmills. Great minds that invented the best govt structure ever conceived. But they don’t know history, so they are ignorant of what the truth reveals

  10. “White man bad” isn’t a position; it’s an insult. Denigrating a culture is an abomination. The kids running the Cavalier Daily are kids and we all should know better than they apparently do to hold anyone to a perfection standard. Slavery was legal, morally approved by religious leaders and remarkably undersubscribed in the South. It was more prevalent among the Indian culture of the plains and in Africa yet opprobrium is reserved for the white founders only. The motive isn’t morality, it’s power for the complainers and that is plain to see. To quote a fine bit of song writing, “so you open up a quarrel between the present and the past. You only sacrifice the future. It’s the bitterness that lasts.”

  11. Condemning men of the past for today’s sensibilities is as immoral as it is wrong-headed. Just like you can’t know another’s heart, you can’t know another’s mind. Whatever the moral position now, slavery was legal, religiously permitted and well-subscribed among the gentry of the time.

    1. I forget who said it but, “No man would wish to be jusdged out of the context of the time he lived”

      The funny part is, this person would be crucified for using “man and “he”.

      I would be cucified for using “crucified”.

      1. And don’t forget that Catholic rosary beads have now been termed symbols of hatred and militant Western culture.

  12. They aren’t ever going to stop, so we must stop – supporting them. And we can flatly reject their values. Marginalization goes both ways, and I guarantee money and a false sense of influence are the only motivators they care about. Let The rejection of Cheney lead the way.

    1. by we….you mean the Democrats who just hired 80000 IRS political enforcers and stealing ANOTHER $700 Billion dollars?

    2. James,
      I agree.
      Not only must we stop supporting them and their values, but enshrine our values. Embrace homeschooling that focuses on reading, writing, math, the sciences (real ones), history in context, civics, critical thinking, with a robust sports and arts programs. We need concerned parents involved.
      We need more real centers of higher education that also focuses on those values like the UATX.
      We need to reject wokeism.

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