A mob of students attacked and defaced the statue of Thomas Jefferson that stands on the University of Virginia campus, on Tuesday night.
What reportedly began as a rally in protest of the university’s alleged failure to implement a series of radical demands UVA’s Black Student Alliance made last month ended with an assault on Jefferson’s effigy and a small confrontation between demonstrators and some counterprotesters.
“The base of the statue was draped with a sign that read ‘Black Lives Matter — F**k White Supremacy,'” read a report from UVA’s campus newspaper, The Cavalier Daily. “Other members of the crowd carried signs that said, ‘Thomas Jefferson is a racist and a rapist,’ as well as ‘End Hate Now.'”
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Video footage taken at the scene shows the utter hysteria that unfolded as agitators took turns riling up the crowd with a megaphone.
“One month ago, we stood on the front lines in downtown Charlottesville as all manner of white supremacists, neo-Nazis, and neo-fascists swarmed the area,” said one speaker. “Two months ago, the Ku Klux Klan rallied in their safe space, fully robed and fully protected by multiple law enforcement agencies who brutalized and tear-gassed peaceful counterprotesters.”
One of the Black Student Alliance’s demands is that all students be forced to undergo a course about “white supremacy, colonization, and slavery as they directly relate to Thomas Jefferson” and UVA. “With every new horror that arises each month, each day, there has been an unparalleled resistance of people who say no to white supremacy, no to fascism, no to all forms of oppression,” said the speaker.
Only a few weeks ago, conservative commentators were warning that hysteria surrounding Confederate imagery would bleed over and foster controversy over anything and everything historical that a progressive leftist might find offensive.
Following violence at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville in August, President Trump himself made the same prediction.
“So this week it’s Robert E. Lee,” Trump said. “I notice that Stonewall Jackson’s coming down. I wonder: Is it George Washington next week, and is it Thomas Jefferson the week after? You know, you really do have to ask yourself — where does it stop?”
On Tuesday, an article published on CALmatters appeared to advocate the removal and renaming of statues and places associated with a number of Californian historical figures on the basis they may be considered offensive to Native Americans.
The article, titled “Beyond Confederacy: California confronts its legacy of slavery and genocide,” names Sen. John C. Frémont, first California Governor Peter Burnett, Sen. John Weller, and St. Junípero Serra, the Apostle of California, as problematic figures whose public references should be revisited.
Also on Tuesday, a statue of Christopher Columbus in New York City’s Central Park was vandalized. The statue’s hands were painted red, and the vandals also spray-painted the phrases “Hate will not be tolerated” and “#Somethingscoming,” a possible threat of violence, on the statue’s base.
Despite the seemingly increasing calls to remove historical imagery, experts say it is still only a small fringe driving the issue.
“I would say that there’s a tiny minority of people, who are strategically placed, who are responsible for stirring up all of this unrest around the monuments,” said Carol Swain, a political scientist and former professor of political science and law at Vanderbilt University, Wednesday on “The Laura Ingraham Show.”
“If you talk to real people, whether they’re black or white, they don’t spend their lives thinking about the statues,” said Swain. “I am a Southerner and I’m proud of being a Southerner. Those monuments don’t bother me and they don’t bother most people, but the political Left has found a way to divide people.”
(photo credit, article image: koocbor, Flickr)