Removing History…An Affront to Everything Mr. Jefferson Held Dear

Submitted on Oct 2, 2017 by Richard Thomas Purkins (Col ’83)

I read with great consternation and sadness today that the University has agreed to cave to extremist groups and remove the Plaques commemorating those students and alumni who died serving Virginia during the Civil War. This is not only an affront to the light of truth that Mr. Jefferson spoke of…but also a sad statement from a University that prides itself on its history. If not for men like those represented on the Rotunda Plaques, the University would not have survived the War…obviously, the powers that be have not studied real history and are not aware that much of the area was under Federal occupation…it was by the protection of Confederate forces that the Rotunda and grounds were spared the torch. But apparently all that matters now is the race card and politically correct pop culture history.

I am resigning my Life Membership in the Alumni Association forthwith…I cannot stand to be a part of blissful ignorance.

Thomas Purkins
College ’83

Comments (3):

  1. William G Northen Comm 72 LM on said:

    Custer spared the University from destruction due to persuasion from faculty members.

  2. Nelson Kane on said:

    Good points. However, I have thoughts as a UVa graduate. I don’t think there should be statues of slaveowners, including Thomas Jefferson, anywhere on UVa’s campus. I understand that it can be very expensive and time-consuming to remove history by taking down statues, but on the other hand, I don’t think it’s realistic to expect that if such history is preserved that statues will be accompanied with detailed explanations that describe just what hand Thomas Jefferson had in the horrors of slavery. I know that for awhile, in Colonial Williamsburg, they would have actors and actresses acting out the daily humiliations of slavery, and it was very upsetting to the tourists who watched. We could do that at UVa once-a-week. I’m sure it would attract a lot of attention, because it would be very discomforting to watch. If we are going to keep the statues of slaveholders up on UVa’s campus, then I think we should weekly, year-round, have professional actors and actresses of both races act out, in graphic detail, just what happened during a typical day at UVa during the period of slavery.

  3. Sarah (CLAS 1993) on said:

    Many good points here. I still remember the Cosby Show fondly, even though it’s clear what Bill Cosby’s legacy will be. History can’t be changed. It’s important to identify and recognize the great leaders of their time, and it’s humbling and instructive to us all to recognize their faults. Thomas Jefferson still has much to teach us, including through his shortcomings.