The Thomas Jefferson Memorial in Washington, D.C.’s National Mall will get an update that notes the slavery record of the founding father, officials reported to the Washington Examiner.
“We can reflect the momentous contributions of someone like Thomas Jefferson, but also consider carefully the complexity of who he was … and that’s not reflected right now in the exhibits,” an official with the Trust for the National Mall told the Examiner.
A new emphasis will be placed on the personal slave-holding records of the founding fathers, and might be first visible at the memorial, because plans to revamp the National Park Service exhibit that accompanies it were already in the works, the Examiner reported.
The official said the Trust would work with the Park Service on content regarding the exhibit. “We’ll be their partner in bringing together thought leaders and scholars to make sure that the content is really appropriate and thorough for what should be at that particular site.”
Jefferson was a slaveholder, and most historians believe that he fathered children with slave Sally Hemmings, according to Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello website.
That story might not appear in full at the National Mall. “There are some things that are better represented and better explained at Monticello,” the official said, referring to Jefferson’s plantation.
“The Jefferson Memorial does not necessarily need to be an all-inclusive site and encapsulate all of that detail,” the official told the Examiner.
“Recent events only reinforce the need for an open, inclusive, and safe place 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,” said Catherine Townsend, the Trust’s president, in a letter to supporters.
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