On February 15, 2019, we hosted a “launch party” at the Bridge Progressive Arts Initiative in Charlottesville, Virginia. At the exhibit, we showcased clips from our series in the Bridge’s “Storystream” listening booth. Please enjoy the online versions of those clips below.
The decision to use human lives as a pursuit of economic stability would lay the groundwork for our country’s development and the person responsible was Thomas Jefferson. But, why? Why would someone who wrote an entire passage criticizing the slave trade then buy/sell slaves? During a tour of Jefferson’s house, Monticello, I asked our tour guide about why Jefferson didn’t live up to his ideals.
I remember being horrified at the knowledge of Thomas Jefferson taking advantage of Sally Hemings, an enslaved woman at Monticello who bore 6 children with Jefferson. But I think what disturbed me the most was the way Charlottesville seemed to really uphold this man as a standard.
While the view of the Tidal Basin and aromatic cherry blossoms set a serene scene around the Thomas Jefferson Memorial in Washington, D.C., the memorial, since its inception, has been riddled with contradictions and controversy.
Although Thomas Jefferson is remembered for ardently petitioning on behalf of man’s endowed rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, he likewise involved himself in the development of the carceral system and institutional punishment.