The University of Missouri has installed a $20,000 acrylic case to protect Thomas Jefferson’s original headstone from potential vandalism.
“The clear case was installed Saturday over the granite obelisk that was originally erected at Monticello in Virginia in 1833,” according to the Associated Press (AP).
The obelisk was replaced in 1883 then gifted to the school, the report said.
“This is Jefferson’s original tombstone that was entrusted to the university and we have a responsibility to insure [sic] that it is preserved appropriately,” university spokesman Christian Basi said.
There was a new addition Saturday to the security surrounding the Thomas Jefferson relics and statue at the University of Missouri — a $20,000 acrylic case for the third president’s original gravestone. https://t.co/5TBOcMLHMQ
— Columbia Tribune (@columbiatribune) September 20, 2020
In June, students circulated a petition calling on officials to remove a “racist” Jefferson statue from university grounds, according to Breitbart News.
The petition stated in part:
Thomas Jefferson, the third president of the United States, owned more than 600 African-American slaves throughout his adult life. Mizzou has no room for a racist slave owner on our campus, in the Quad, where thousands of black students pass by everyday [sic], forced to deal with imagery of the past in the future where we should be promoting equality, diversity and inclusion. A memorial of a racist has no place on out [sic] campus.
In July, Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas, removed statues of Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin from its campus over vandalism concerns, Breitbart News reported.
“Jefferson has become a little bit more of a controversial figure. The reason (for wanting to remove the statue) at the University of Missouri was that he was slaveholder, and that’s why it became a target there,” university spokesperson Patrick Early said at the time.
“We didn’t want (Washburn’s replica) to become a target or an embarrassment to the donors,” he added.
Missouri University President Mun Choi refused to remove the Jefferson statue over the summer which prompted student Roman Leaphart to start a petition to take it down.
“Choi said at the time that the university would move to put Jefferson’s complex history into context,” according to the AP report.
Basi noted that a task force including students, faculty, and others was working on the project.
During a recent interview with Fox News’s Tucker Carlson, civil rights leader Bob Woodson said D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser’s alleged consideration of removing or relocating monuments, including the Thomas Jefferson Memorial, would lead to “dark places.”
They are flirting with a very dangerous impulse when they start doing this, Tucker, because you think about, in the French Revolution, what they tried to do was rewrite history and destroy the symbols of history — and what you are seeing around the country are guillotines being established because in the French Revolution, what they did, of course, is wipe out the people in the church and also the aristocracy, and tried to even change the calendar — and as a consequence, it took us into a dark period.
“None of us should be defined by the worst of what we were, but it is very dangerous for them to be flirting with the — the Russian Revolution, the same thing happened there — they wanted to rewrite history,” Woodson concluded.