Protesters pull down an old Thomas Jefferson statue, the United States’ third president and owner of 600 slaves during his lifetime. The act of dismantling the statue comes on the 17th day of protests over George Floyd’s murder by Minneapolis Police. Statue of Thomas Jefferson – the school’s namesake—was toppled by the 1,000 protesters amidst roars of “We are taking this city back. One school at a time. One racist statue at a time.” Jefferson although publicly defiled slavery had personally bought slaves and profited from their coerced labour.
The statue had its nose chipped off and remained untended on the school’s front steps. Jefferson High School is located at the pivotal centre of a black Albina neighbourhood in Portland. Community members have been debating over the change of the school’s name that was named after the President in 1909.
Amidst the ongoing protests and racial injustices, the community has suggested naming the school after America’s first black President, Barack Obama.
In an interview, Clifford Walker, alumnus of Jefferson High School explains how the statue looking over the entire black Albina community was inappropriate considering the wrongness of slavery inflicted on African Americans for centuries.
Throughout the country, protesters are doing away with statues of slave peddlers and historical figures who have contributed to slavery in America. In Alabama, a statute for the Confederate admiral Raphael Semmes was removed to a museum from the state’s port.