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. The University of Virginia was founded and funded by Thomas Jefferson. Mr. Jefferson gave us the Declaration of Independence, was a leader in the revolution, was the mentor to James Madison , principal author of the Constitution, and as president he doubled the size of the US with the Louisiana Purchase.
    UVA was the first US based University not affiliated with a religious denomination. … and the construction costs essentially bankrupted Mr Jefferson.
    To ignore these seminal achievements simply because he was a slaveholder is just ideological culture warfare. It’s time we stop this nonsense and call out these children at the Cavalier Daily for what they are… communist rabble rousers

      1. Thank you Ray. It’s important that we right thinking Rays take our rightful place in the world shaping the minds of those less gifted othernamers.
        Carry on my well named friend.

    1. “Mr. Jefferson gave us the Declaration of Independence . . .”

      Thank you for focusing attention where it belongs — on the Founders’ *achievements*.

      Do not allow the America haters to set the terms of the debate.

  2. Jonathan: You will be surprised but I don’t advocate the removal of all references to Thomas Jefferson–just as long as we acknowledge his contributions to the founding of the nation were within the context of the institution of slavery. He was a prominent slaveholder. While many slaveholders acknowledged the “evils”, Jefferson never freed any of his slaves prior to his death because they were necessary to his economic survival. And he fathered children by one of his slaves, Sally Hemings. Surprisingly, some today dispute Jefferson’s paternity of any of Sally’s children. We find them even in this chatroom. Why would anyone want to deny something that was quite common among slave owners? And then have to resort to anti-historical and anti- science revisionist theories to justify their false claims? Truth matters. So as long as Jefferson and other “Founders” are kept on pedestals we will never learn the truth about this nation’s history.

    This brings us to other important news re the FBI search of Trump’s home. Trump’s attorney, Alina Habba, not the brightest lightbulb in Trump’s legal arsenal, demanded yesterday that the DOJ unseal the affidavit because her client wanted the names off all witnesses “to uncover everything so that we can see what is going on”. Almost 100 % of the time the DOJ does not unseal the accompanying affidavit to a search warrant. The reason is basic. Revealing the names of witnesses, preindictment, might jeopardize cooperation from present and other potential witnesses. The DOJ has opposed Trump’s demand. You have also called for the unsealing of the affidavit. As an experienced criminal defense attorney you should know it is unlikely Judge Reinhart will unseal the affidavit. So why would you join Trump’s legal team in calling for something that you know is unlikely to happen? Let me posit a possible reason.

    Remember when Cassidy Hutchinson testified before the J6 Committee? It was revealed at the time that Hutchinson and other witnesses were threatened by someone in Trump’s orbit. Witness intimidation is a serious problem. There was sharp reaction on Twitter to Habba/ Trump’s demand. One person said: “Trump hasn’t been charged yet. The only reason to try & get witness identities is so they can be pressured or perhaps retaliated against. This is one of DOJ’s key arguments for keeping the affidavit that accompanied the search warrant app, confidential” Another commented: “The reason he [Trump] wants the names…is so he can direct his followers to deluge them with death threats and other forms of harassment/intimidation”. This is something the mafia does–no a former president–right? We do know that Judge Reinhart has received anti-semitic death threats as have some of FBI agents who participated in the search of Mar-a-Lago.

    That brings us back to the Q of why you would join Trump in demanding the affidavit be unsealed? Perhaps you can enlighten us. Just asking.

    1. ♦Part One outlines the background of the modern Deep State, and the formation of the DOJ-NSD {Go Deep}.

      ♦In Part Two you see the specifics of how President Trump was targeted by political operatives using the DOJ-NSD {Go Deep}.

      ♦In Part Three you see how and why President Trump was blocked from releasing documents against the DOJ-NSD {Go Deep}.

      ♦And in Part Four, we outlined exactly what those specifics documents are that likely existed in Mar-a-Lago. {Go Deep}

      https://theconservativetreehouse.com/blog/2022/08/14/sunday-talks-devin-nunes-and-kash-patel-discuss-the-fbi-raid-on-trump-and-doj-targeting-4-0/

    2. Dennis, without involving myself in the hypocrisy of all people, I am going to quote a statement of Jeffersons that deals with the slavery issue.

      “We have the wolf by the ear, and we can neither hold him, nor safely let him go. Justice is in one scale, and self-preservation in the other.”

        1. Thank you, Mespo. I didn’t know that.

          Theft of language is frequently ‘stolen’ by the greats. I write this while listening to Dvorak recognizing portions of opera and popular music.

  3. This obsession with long ago history is really a retreat from the present and its opportunities and responsibilities.
    I tell young woke fools, forget about judging those who lived 250 years ago, and think about being judged by people for what you accomplish or destroy in your lifetime by those 250 years from now. How do you think you’ll be judged when they find out you clung to the long ago past, and conflated it from the present situation?

    How will they judge you for your negativity and blame-casting, causing heightened suspicions and divisions among different races?

    1. Okay, all slave owners were democrats ….all democrats started/ran the KKK… democrats fought the CR bill … multiple American indian (prehistoric) tribes owned African slaves … SO GET ALL THE FACTS !!!

    2. “I tell young woke fools, forget about judging those who lived 250 years ago, and think about being judged by people for what you accomplish or destroy in your lifetime by those 250 years from now. How do you think you’ll be judged when they find out you clung to the long ago past, and conflated it from the present situation?”

      Pbinca, I think that is a wise statement.

    3. pbinca,

      We may not see eye to eye on everything but we are walking side by side on this one. Great comment!

  4. Those calling for this act as if nothing they have done could be construed in a negative light now or in the future so any good they may have done should be erased. Who are these perfect people?

    1. Jews are the perfect people they are the one funding all of this history that White America wants to hide. God bless the Jews.

  5. I have said ever since I saw the snowflakes first being formed – these kids will bring us to the brink of a civil war, if not a world one, because this issue is not confined to our Republic. It was apparent when they were small children in how they related to the world and how they were parented. Kids that are parented well and actually taught about life do not blithely go along with whatever they encounter at university; no, they ask questions and parse out information for themselves. I have also said, ok, let’s air drop these spoiled, sheltered by wealth and privilege little ***** into the middle of North Korea or Cambodia or Afghanistan and see how they do. Their iPhone not working would send most of them into a tizzy – heaven help them when the realize there is nowhere to buy food.

    The biggest problem with our dem party is that they have basically acquiesced to letting the lowest of teenagers run their party, so desperate are they for modern relevance and power. it isn’t going to turn out any better for them than all of the Silicon Valley ‘unicorn’ companies that declared bankruptcy or flat out got dragged into court for fraud, and *lost* over the past 20 years. The modern democratic party IS Thanos. And unfortunately for them the rest of us are grown adults with the capacity to observe and think and make responsible decisions for ourselves. If Wyoming is any indication, and I think it is – that equation does not included the modern democratic party. Not in any capacity. We have had a resurgence of tyranny in this country, the tyranny we sought to escape, and there are just too many of us that refuse to go back, particularly after the covid farce. For those of us connected to education, that only ended in April of this year. that is less than six months.

    1. You are absolutely right. The dimwits who follow the Democrat Party have no conception of the deprivation that will follow if the USA falls. They don’t have to brains to have read history and have no idea the horror that follows the take over of a country by the likes of communism. The blind leading the blind has never been more true.

    2. James,
      The idea of a civil war here in the USA frightens me. I spent a year in Afghanistan. I know what war looks like. It is not pretty. Those of us who have worn the uniform know the last place you want to go to is war.
      And there would be a whole lot of people not interested in any kind of war who would suffer the most if our transportation system was disrupted for a few weeks let alone months or longer.

      Thing is the snowflakes version of combat is cancel culture. It is posting things on blogs. Memes. Petitions. Faux rage and tears. They might protest in the streets, or outside of a SC justice home, or if he and his family are at a restaurant. Burning down buildings, throwing things at police who are ordered not to engage, or to use minimal force. Having the support of high ranking politicians from really far away. Or the MSM.
      That is one thing.
      But in a real shooting war, with real bullets flying? Takes cancel culture to a whole new level. Not better.

  6. Music
    We don’t need no Tommy Jeffson!
    We don’t need no thought control.
    All in all it’s just a Brit in a robe.

  7. Orwell was spot on. They attempt to wipe out our history and then create their own. Jefferson had his issues and his inconsistencies. Which made him human, not a demi-god. What was that about casting stones again?

  8. Certainly, the leftists of Seattle are on the verge of crowding the interstates with U-Hauls as they flee a state named for a slave owner in 1889. They haven’t left yet, but maybe they are stopping off at Starbucks before they take off. But after that, brace yourselves.

  9. Joe Biden will run again in 2024. He just approved the biggest oil and gS lease in US history. Looks like the big guy can read the tea leaves.

    1. So, you cannot see the smoke screen ?. He authorized the Dept of Interior to “explore”, after the sale of leases This is basic appesement basedon potential, yes potential . We need the production now, not the slow roll of the government . He also didnt lift the inhibiting regulations, or did he?

      1. Bob,

        I agree with Marc on this, the reported release of oil and gas leases is a red herring . In addition, what Biden just passed was the actually “the Green New Deal” passed under the guise of being “the Inflation Reduction Act”.

  10. This lot has no intention of finding themselves amongst the proletariat when the great day arrives. They are ‘the more equal than others’ class. An interesting observation during the CNN coverage of the Wyoming returns. The areas in which Cheney had the majority were described as representative of a more highly educated voting bloc to whom Trump was less desirable. Long live ‘the baskets of deplorables’, They may just save this nation.

  11. The same people who want to tear down any monuments to, and denigrate the achievements of imperfect men of their times who accomplished great things; erected a statue and named a square in honor of a career criminal whose actions while high on drugs, precipitated his murder.

  12. I imagine we can all look forward to the renaming of Yale University as it moves to disassociate itself from that notorious slave trader, Eli Yale.

  13. “[I]n 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.” (JT)

    In the past, to destroy a culture’s hard-fought knowledge and values, barbarians toppled statues, executed scholars, and burned libraries.

    Now all they have to do is write editorials. The appeasers then commit suicide.

  14. Perhaps the correct course of action is to disband the “newspaper” as it has abdicated its responsibility anyway.

  15. Institutions of higher learning should be named only for highly accomplished people who are not deeply flawed. I’ll get you a list of examples sometime next week. At the absolute latest, I can get it to you by the end of month.

  16. When the election of 2024 arrives Joe Biden will obviously not be able to run and therefore it would normally fall to the sitting VP of the party to inherit the status of nominee apparent and yet there will be about 10 WHITE MEN and a few WHITE women that will challenge Harris and most likely deny the party from having the first WOMAN OF COLOR becoming president. How can these WHITE LIBERALS do this to a WOC?

    In this same way we have this little WHITE GIRL who is sitting in UV and is the editor of the school’s newspaper as she is taking the seat of some poor BLACK GIRL or TRANS GIRL/BOY that could be in that position. How could this horrible WHITE GIRL usurp the right of a BLACK person?

  17. These fanatics who want to “disavow” white supremacy should be willing to excise ALL conveniences, aids and support from their lives that are the result of Western culture since the time of the ancient Greeks. I mean – if you hate Western culture that much – then remove ALL vestiges of it from your existence – live in a state of abject innocence of ANYTHING that evil white men produced and start with your computers, automobiles, plumbing, refrigeration and cell phones and dwindle down to only those items created by POC.

    1. “These fanatics who want to “disavow” white supremacy should be willing to excise . . .”

      Which, of course, will never happen. They desire the fruits of Western culture, while chopping down its trees.

  18. The university should also stop teaching the thought of people like Aristotle, Plato, and St. Augustine, because they, like many others, explicitly defended slavery. [https://www.bbc.co.uk/ethics/slavery/ethics/philosophers_1.shtml] Of course, UV should also stop teaching the work of those philosophers who were aware of the pro-slavery opinions of Aristotle, et al., and failed to denounce them And, we must burn all books that discuss those thinkers. And, since silence is a kind of approval, all books that fail to denounce slavery when discussing the subject must also be consigned to the flames. Hallelujah!

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