Fayette County attorney Hal Rounds, the group’s lead spokesman during the news conference, said the group wants to address “an awful lot of made-up criticism about, for instance, the founders intruding on the Indians or having slaves or being hypocrites in one way or another.
While I am not a historian, I do know that being a slave to another human, living and working under horrendous conditions, subject to beatings and being denied the basic rights of humanity is in no way akin to the abject poverty and racial discrimination faced by many African Americans today. One need not know anything about history to know that living by one’s will is better than living by another’s whip.
Why then would we want to rewrite history to speak something other than the truth? Oh, because it would diminish the already inflated perception we have of America’s founders. So Thomas Jefferson had a child by his slave Sally Hemmings. He is still the author of some of the most profound and eloquent thoughts on governance and religious freedom. Knowing the truth about him doesn’t lessen his importance to American history, it simply makes him more human. A man subject to the social norms of his times and fallible; a model more worth emulating than the false image most history books have been portraying for years.