Protesters in Charlottesville call Jefferson 'racist and rapist,' wrap statue in black

Jefferson Statue is Shrouding in Black in Charlottesville

Students and other University of Virginia community members shrouded a statue of Thomas Jefferson in black Tuesday night during a rally criticizing the university's response to recent white nationalist demonstrations that unfolded on and near the campus. "I strongly disagree with the protesters' decision to cover the Jefferson statue", Sullivan wrote.

When protesters left, the Jefferson statue remained covered and a large banner reading "Black Lives Matter" and "F-k white supremacy" hung on its base, according to the Daily News.

"The symbol of Thomas Jefferson is one that contradicts anti-hate", one of the gathering's speakers said.

The protesters who came out on Tuesday, braving the rain, said they were speaking out against the university's response to those and other white nationalist demonstrators, the Daily Progress reports. Authorities said Lambert, who is unaffiliated with UVa, was legally open-carrying a firearm and was not in violation of state law or UVa policies.

Sullivan said Jefferson "was an ardent believer in freedom of expression, and he experienced plenty of abusive treatment from the newspapers of his day".

"I prefer the process of discussion and debate", she said, adding that "the debate is happening here" at U.Va. University officials have removed the shroud.

The protest of Jefferson's statue is yet another wedge between conservatives who say American history is being erased or rewritten and the critics of such landmarks who say they memorialize men in history who owned slaves or fought to maintain slavery.

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The email sent to the University community said while Jefferson is a controversial historic figure, he made many contributions to the United States.

She added: "In apparent contradiction to his persuasive arguments for liberty and human rights, however, he was also a slave owner".

University of Virginia President Teresa Sullivan is taking heat today for two different e-mails she sent yesterday. I noticed that (Thomas) "Stonewall" Jackson's coming down. Student protesters at UVA argue that the statue of pre-Confederacy Jefferson should be among those.

Is protesting Jefferson's statue justifiable for all Americans? Responding on Twitter to the shrouding, he called on UVa to "expel students and fire any faculty responsible", saying "anything less is acceptance".

Corey Stewart, chairman of the Prince William County Board of Supervisors, has used Charlottesville's statue controversies for the conservative platform of both his campaign for the U.S. Senate seat now held by Democrat Tim Kaine and his failed gubernatorial bid earlier this year.

Congress this week passed a bipartisan resolution decrying the violence at the August 12 rally in Charlottesville and urging President Donald Trump to speak out against "hate groups".

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