'Racist & Rapist': Vandals Deface UVA's Thomas Jefferson Statue on Founder's 275th Birthday
A statue of the nation's third president at the university he founded was vandalized Friday.
At the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, a statue of a seated Thomas Jefferson had the words "racist + rapist" scrawled in red spray paint on what would be his 275th birthday.
Jefferson, who authored of the Declaration of Independence and founded UVA, along with numerous other accomplishments, is normally honored on his birthday during "Founder's Day."
Last night, "Racist + Rapist" was spraypainted on a statue of Thomas Jefferson in #Charlottesville in anticipation of "Founders Day," when Cville celebrates this white supremacist's birthday. @CvilleBLM wrote the following statement: pic.twitter.com/sMqK8TB8oI
— Solidarity Cville (@SolidCville) April 13, 2018
The Jefferson home, Monticello, lies a short distance on the other side of Interstate 64 from campus.
Jefferson has drawn criticism as the nationwide controversy over public statuary gained steam.
He was known to own slaves, and is rumored to have fathered a child with a servant named Sally Hemings.
A university spokesperson slammed the defacement of Jefferson's statue, telling the Washington Post that UVA "recognizes the complexities of Thomas Jefferson's legacy and continues to explore them fully and honestly."
"UVA welcomes open and civil discourse on such important issues, however acts of vandalism do not contribute to meaningful discussion," Anthony de Bruyn said.
Happy 275th birthday, Thomas Jefferson!
Join us on Facebook @TJMonticello at 9:45am for a livestream of today’s ceremony featuring the remarks of Cary Fowler, founder of the Svalbard Global Seed Vault and performances by the U.S. Army Fife and Drum Corps. pic.twitter.com/8VypOhjw9L
— Monticello (@TJMonticello) April 13, 2018
Facilities department workers were called to fix the statue and law enforcement is investigating.