Just one month ago, white nationalists stormed the University of Virginia’s rotunda chanting “Jews will not replace us.” On Tuesday, exactly one month later, a different group of protesters came together to deride the school’s response to last month’s events.
About 100 students, faculty and community members – some invoking “Black Lives Matter” chants – showed up at the Charlottesville, Va. university and placed a black tarp on a monument honoring Thomas Jefferson, a U.S. Founding Father and a founder of the university.
Last month, plans to remove a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee turned violent, resulting in the death of Heather Heyer, who was there to protest white supremacist groups. The deadly protest set off a national debate over what to do with hundreds of historic monuments across the South that honor the Confederacy.
At the rally on Tuesday, several people climbed atop the Jefferson monument and placed signs on it that called him a “racist” and “rapist.” Students also chanted “No Trump, No KKK, no racist U-V-A,” according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
Jefferson has a complex, well-documented history with slavery. He owned hundreds of slaves, but he also worked to gradually end slavery. Historians now believe the former president had a relationship with his wife’s half-sister, Sally Hemmings, who was a slave at Monticello.
“One month ago, we stood on the front lines in downtown Charlottesville as all manner of white supremacists, neo-Nazis, and neo-fascists swarmed the area,” a speaker told the crowd, the Daily Progress reported. “Two months ago, the Ku Klux Klan rallied in their safe space, fully robed and fully protected by multiple law enforcement agencies who brutalized and tear-gassed peaceful counter-protesters.”
The rally was in response to a decision by the university to deny a request by the Black Student Alliance to ban white supremacists from campus and remove Confederate plaques on the rotunda, the Daily Progress reported.
“With every new horror that arises each month, each day, there has been an unparalleled resistance of people who say no to white supremacy, no to fascism, no to all forms of oppression,” said the speaker, the Times-Dispatch reported. “And we recognize and honor the fact that this resistance was not born 10 months ago, but has actually lived for many years: Communities of color in Charlottesville fighting for affordable housing, for a living wage, for an end to police brutality and state-sanctioned violence, for education for all.”
The protest has cleared, but the shroud on the Thomas Jefferson statue at the Rotunda remains. pic.twitter.com/BqYtCEtH5q
— Alexis Gravely (@_AlexisWasHere) September 13, 2017
UV officials did not immediately return an email from Fox News seeking comment.
There are more than 1,500 confederate symbols, statues and monuments in the United States, including the names of highways and schools, according to a 2016 study by the Southern Poverty Law Center.