Protesters in Portland, Oregon, toppled a statue of Thomas Jefferson that had stood in front of a high school named after the author of the Declaration of Independence as riots continue nationwide over the death of George Floyd.
The incident occurred Sunday night after a Black Lives Matter rally was held at Jefferson High School, and now there are calls for the school to be renamed after someone other than the third president of United States.
What are the details?
The Oregonian reported that a crowd of more than 1,000 congregated on the steps of the high school to demonstrate before marching to a park to continue their demonstration. When the protesters left at around 7:15 p.m., the statue was still standing but its pedestal had been spray painted with the words, “slave owner,” “George Floyd,” and “BLM” for Black Lives Matter.
An organizer of the rally was quoted as telling the crowd, “There’s an interesting piece of history up here…Mr. Thomas is all beside himself. We’re taking this city back one school at a time. One racist statue at a time.’
Video circulating online and shared by news outlets shows activists pulling down the statue of the Founding Father while cheering. It is unclear whether the people who toppled the statue were affiliated with Black Lives Matter.
KPTV-TV reported Monday that there are also calls for Jefferson High School to be renamed, over the fact that Jefferson was a slave owner despite his penning of the words, “all men are created equal.”
Demonstrators pull down Thomas Jefferson statue in front of Portland high school
Numerous statues of Confederate officials have been pulled down during the ongoing demonstrations against police brutality and racial injustices sparked by the death of Floyd, a black man who died while in Minneapolis police custody on May 25. But as the toppling of the Thomas Jefferson statue shows, tributes to America’s Founding Fathers are now being targeted.
According to CBS News, “The Jefferson statue was the third to be taken down this weekend in Oregon alone: Two at the University of Oregon — the Pioneer Man and the Pioneer Mother — were taken down Saturday evening.”