Shannon Lanier, a ninth-generation direct descendant of President Thomas Jefferson, believes that statues of the Founding Father would be better off in museums.
“Public statues and monuments like the ones of Thomas Jefferson, Robert E. Lee, and Christopher Columbus ... are for many people symbols of hate, racism and slavery; and when we honor and celebrate them in public arenas, we inadvertently give them and their actions validity and power,” Lanier wrote.
On Thursday, members of the New York City Council wrote a letter to Mayor Bill de Blasio urging the removal of a Thomas Jefferson statue in City Hall.
“The statue of Thomas Jefferson in the City Council Chambers is inappropriate and serves as a constant reminder of the injustices that have plagued communities of color since the inception of our country,” reads the letter, signed by Speaker Corey Johnson and four other members of the council.
During his lifetime, Jefferson “made some legislative attempts against slavery and at times bemoaned its existence, [but] he also profited directly from the institution of slavery and wrote that he suspected Black people to be inferior to white people,” according to the Thomas Jefferson Foundation.