Charlottesville, Va. scraps Thomas Jefferson's b-day as paid holiday. UVA College Republicans are livid.
- The city of Charlottesville, Va. will no longer celebrate Thomas Jefferson’s birthday as a paid holiday.
- University of Virginia College Republicans chapter is “not surprised,” but “thoroughly disappointed by the decision.”
University of Virginia's College Republicans chapter slammed Charlottesville, Va. Friday for dropping former president and UVA founder Thomas Jefferson's birthday as a paid holiday for the city.
The student group told Campus Reform that the city's Monday decision was "ironic," given the celebration of July Fourth just days later. The city of Charlottesville, Jefferson's hometown, scrapped recognition of his birthday, replacing the paid holiday with Liberation and Freedom Day. Campus Reform could not confirm if Liberation and Freedom Day will be a paid holiday.
"We are thoroughly disappointed by the decision, but not surprised,” UVA College Republicans President Matthew Nalls told Campus Reform. “Frankly, it's ironic that Charlottesville voted to drop Thomas Jefferson's birthday just to celebrate Independence Day a few days later -- a holiday brought about in part by Jefferson.”
The decision comes amid a vast movement to cover up the Founding Fathers, mostly because they had owned slaves in the past. The Washington Postreported that the San Francisco Board of Education recently moved to cover up a mural of George Washington at the local George Washington High School. Campus Reform previously covered the replacement of George the Colonial as George Washington University’s mascot and the defacing of a Jefferson statue at Hofstra University.
“While Jefferson's legacy has clear faults, the city of Charlottesville ignored a clear opportunity to paint the entire story of his history. Instead, Charlottesville could have chosen to celebrate both his birthday and Liberation and Freedom Day,” Nalls expressed. “Students would see the entire picture through this.”
"I think this is a great man who helped found this country," Jason Hill, philosophy professor at DePaul University, said on "Tucker Carlson Tonight." “If we start by retroactively and retrospectively looking at the sins of great figures who have made enormous contributions to Western philosophy, we’re going to be left with a decimated history.”
Hill added that although slavery was a “birth defect” in the founding of the U.S., Jefferson and others ultimately “gave us the emancipatory vocabularies to free ourselves from those bonds [of slavery].”
“Unfortunately, [Jefferson’s] achievements in building the foundation for freedom and liberty in this country will continue to be ignored,” Nalls told Campus Reform. “We can only fear what Charlottesville will go after next."
The University Democrats at UVA told Campus Reform that it "fully supports City Council’s decision to replace Jefferson’s birthday as an official city holiday with Liberation and Freedom Day. The veneration of the founding fathers at the expense of recognizing marginalized communities and their hard-fought gains has taken place for far too long, and we hope that this change will help to amplify those histories."
Campus Reform reached out to the Charlottesville city council for comment but did not receive a response in time for publication.
Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @ethanycai