A new emphasis to highlight Thomas Jefferson’s record as a slave owners will prompt an update to an exhibit alongside the Jefferson Memorial.
The decision to update the exhibit was made by a private non-profit Board of Trustees in charge of monuments on the National Mall, The Washington Examiner reported.
The move will set the precedent for all other exhibits under thier charge, with George Washington surely in the cross hairs at some point.
— Washington Examiner (@dcexaminer) August 21, 2017
“We can reflect the momentous contributions of someone like Thomas Jefferson, but also consider carefully the complexity of who he was,” an official with the Trust told The Examiner. “And that’s not reflected right now in the exhibits.”
Counted among those “contributions” is being the principal author of the Declaration of Independence, which established that “all men are created equal.”
Catherine Townsend, president of the Trust for the National Mall sent a letter to supporters highlighting the need to establish a “safe place… for all” — a theme that borrows from liberal college campuses.
“In the coming weeks and months, the physical symbols of American history and democracy will be scrutinized and challenged,” Townsend said.
“Recent events only reinforce the need for an open, inclusive and safe space for Americans to exercise their First Amendment rights and to gather in pursuit of our shared ideals — life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for all,” she wrote.
The National Park Service manages the site, but the Trust “has the ability to wield significant influence over the new exhibits, because they provide crucial private funding for the National Mall,” The Examiner reported.