MSNBC host Al Sharpton is calling for ending federal funding for maintenance and security for the Jefferson Memorial because the third U.S. president owned slaves.
“When you look at the fact that public monuments are supported by public funds you’re asking me to subsidize the insult of my family. I would repeat that the public should not be paying to uphold somebody who has had that kind of background,” Sharpton told CBS host Charlie Rose.
“You have private museums, you have other things that you may want to do there,” he added.
The Jefferson Memorial is a large structure on the banks of the Potomac river, sitting on federal grounds.
Jefferson “had slaves and children with his slaves. And it does matter,” Sharpton continued.
“I think that people need to understand when people that were enslaved and robbed of even the right to marry, and had forced sex with their slave masters, this is personal to us.”
“This is personal,” Sharpton exclaimed. “This is not some kind of removed discussion from us, our families were victims of this. Certainly they ought to be removed.”
Rose began to pose, “Therefore everybody associated with slavery in terms of a public monument to them,” before Sharpton
“When you look at the fact that public monuments are supported with public funds, you are asking me to subsidize the insult to my family.”
“Then I repeat, Thomas Jefferson had slaves,” Rose injected.
Sharpton replied, “And I would repeat that the public should not be paying to uphold somebody who has that kind of background. You have private museums, you have other things that you may want to do there.”