In the wake of the protests and the Black Lives Matter movement, students from the University of Missouri petitioned to remove the statue of Thomas Jefferson due to his connection to slavery and the Confederacy.
What We Know:
- Students at the University of Missouri petitioned to have the Thomas Jefferson statue removed from their campus because he was a slave owner.
- The petition stated, “Mizzou has no room for a racist slave owner on our campus, in the Quad, where thousands of black students pass by every day, forced to deal with imagery of the past in the future where we should be promoting equality, diversity and inclusion. A memorial of a racist has no place on our campus”.
- Thomas Jefferson was the author of the Declaration of Independence and the third president of the United States. He had a 5,000-acre plantation and owned over 600 slaves in his lifetime. Following his death, a small number of slaves were freed, but most were sold again.
- It has also long been believed that Jefferson had a relationship with Sally Hemings and fathered children with her.
- Although the petition received over 3,500 signatures, the university released a statement saying they have decided to keep the statue. In the statement, Chancellor Mun Choi said, “After further discussion with other curators, the university decided not to remove the Jefferson statue. We learn from history. We contextualize historical figures with complex legacies. We don’t remove history.”
Many other students from the University of Wisconsin, the University of Mississippi, and Columbus State Community College are calling for their campus to remove confederate statues and historical figures linked to racism.