Former President Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello mansion, now a Virginia tourist attraction, has reportedly gone woke, with employees going out of their way to smear and besmirch the Founding Father instead of celebrating his legacy.
Recent reviews on the mansion’s Google page tell the whole story.
“I expected more about the life of Jefferson (hence my rating of only 3 stars) and his accomplishments, but it was highly focused on all the aspects of slavery. I loved the grounds and the site itself but expected more about Thomas Jefferson overall accomplishments and his entire life not just his business exploits on the plantation,” one review reads.
“If you are a fan of woke revisionist history and racist CRT, this is the place for you. If you are a fair-minded person with an appreciation for the great contributions of Jefferson as a founding father of our great nation, Monticello will disappoint and infuriate. The leadership and staff of this national treasure should be ashamed,” another review adds.
But these aren’t just the musings of some “random haters.” Even Jeffrey Tucker, the founder of the Brownstone Institute, has said the same. Speaking with the New York Post, he described the veritable circus act that the Monticello tour has become.
“Someone asked if Jefferson had built a machine in the house, and the guide said, ‘Nah, he never built anything, he was just a tinkerer,'” Tucker recalled.
“It was ridiculous. He was the architect of this house and of the University of Virginia — what are you talking about?” he added in exasperation.
This new portrayal of Jefferson marks a stark contrast to how Monticello has traditionally depicted the third American president.
In the past, the tour focused primarily on Jefferson the man and his numerous accomplishments.
But these days the focus is on grievance.
“[G]rievance has become the predominant theme at Monticello, from the ticket booth in the visitor’s center — decorated with a contemporary painting of Jefferson’s weeping slaves — to its final gift-shop display,” Mary Kay Linge and Jon Levine of the Post reported after paying the mansion a visit themselves.
“Not even the president’s world-famous music room, an octagonal space carefully restored to its 18th-century grandeur and decorated with Gilbert Stuart’s original presidential portrait and classical busts, is safe from revisionist disapproval. A grim modern painting of a faceless figure with a matte black head now looms over the room, positioned so that it directly confronts visitors as they enter the mansion.”
The painting was “commissioned in honor of Juneteenth last month,” Linge and Levine learned from their tour guide.
“The figure’s ‘hands and face of featureless tar’ represent ‘the faceless lives of all who served in bondage, witnessing but never recognized,’ an identifying card explains. The anachronistic artwork is just one of many jarring signs of over-the-top politicization at Jefferson’s beloved home,” they wrote.
Speaking on this politicization, Tucker said, “The whole thing has the feel of propaganda and manipulation.”
And this doesn’t seem coincidental. Indeed, the Post notes that Monticello’s parent entity, the Thomas Jefferson Foundation, is brimming with far-leftists who’re all directly linked to top Democrat Party figures like Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, and Terry McAuliffe:
For instance, the foundation’s chair, Melody Barnes, was an assistant to former President Obama. And apparently, she has an axe to grind.
“I grew up in Virginia, where Jefferson was always — and only — celebrated. … My high school, like so many others in the United States, bears his name. But we didn’t learn everything about Jefferson,” she complained in an op-ed published in The Washington Post four years ago.
“Nothing was taught about Jefferson the plantation owner, who enslaved other human beings — including [Sally] Hemings, who went unmentioned in our history books. Like millions of other students across the country, we were denied a full understanding of Jefferson. He was one- dimensional, without complexity and beyond criticism.”
But there’s a difference between offering a comprehensive portrayal of Jefferson and promoting grievance and guilt.
“Always enjoyed visiting Monticello in the past. The workers are super friendly and helpful. Unfortunately on this guided tour, we were lectured more on slaves and Sally Hemmings than the man himself. Half of the comments on Jefferson were critical. I expected for, the price, to have enjoyed it more. Even my 11 yr old daughter noticed the bias,” another recent review of the Monticello tour reads.
“We all are aware of the tragedy of slavery during the early part of this country’s history. Please center your presentations on the man and his accomplishments rather than promoting guilt.”
Plus, according to bestselling author Douglas MacKinnon, it makes little sense to judge Jefferson by today’s standards.
“It’s very problematic to look at 1776 and Thomas Jefferson through the prism of 2022. You can’t go back 250 years to know what was in their hearts at that time,” he said to the Post.
Particularly through the prism of racial essentialists like Ibram Kendi and Ta-Nehisi Coates. Yet according to the Post, books by both men “enjoy pride of place in the visitor center’s gift shop.”
The “smaller Farm Shop store” meanwhile “displays five titles on Jefferson’s slaves — and a single biography of the man himself.”
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