CANCELED: Thomas Jefferson and George Mason Removed from Names of Two Schools in Virginia Because They Were Slaveholders
Two public schools in Virginia named after Founding Fathers will be renamed because of slavery and “racism.”
Thomas Jefferson and George Mason, the respective namesakes of an elementary and high school in Falls Church, contributed much to the intellectual foundations of American independence and concepts like inalienable rights. Yet because they were slaveholders, their names are being erased from those schools.
The Falls Church City Public Schools board voted unanimously to rename the schools, despite 56 percent of respondents in a voluntary survey saying that the names shouldn’t be changed. The 44 percent who thought they should change mostly cited Jefferson and Mason’s slaveholding and that it “could make students feel marginalized and uncomfortable.”
Thomas Jefferson is a familiar name for his authorship of the Declaration of Independence and his presidency, whereas George Mason is not nearly as well-known and has been referred to as the “Forgotten Founder.” Mason was a principal author of the Virginia Declaration of Rights, which significantly influenced the Bill of Rights in the US Constitution. Interestingly enough, he refused to sign the Constitution because it lacked such a bill of rights at first. It wasn’t until 1791, a year before his death, that the Bill of Rights was ratified.
Both Jefferson and Mason opposed slavery on moral and intellectual grounds, but they did not feel they could personally extricate themselves from the practice because of their heavy reliance on slave labor for the operation of their estates.
In any case, this continues a disturbing trend in erasing American history that picked up steam during the hysteria of the George Floyd riots. No sane, serious country tries to cancel its own heroes.