Under the mantle of “inclusive history,” Albemarle County’s Board of Supervisors is setting a new standard for proclamations.
To wit, this year’s proclamation “recognizing” Thomas Jefferson on his birthday:
Proclamation Recognizing Thomas Jefferson’s Birthday
WHEREAS, Thomas Jefferson was born in Albemarle County on April 13, 1743; and
WHEREAS, Albemarle County Board of Supervisors, as part of their Community Remembrance Project, have committed to sharing an inclusive history of our County—including the stories that have been traditionally left out of the dominant narrative; and
WHEREAS, we want to commemorate Thomas Jefferson’s birthday as the third president of the United States, the author of the Declaration of Independence and the Virginia Statue of Religious Freedom, and the father of the University of Virginia; and
WHEREAS, we want to express gratitude for the immense contributions Thomas Jefferson made to our community and to our country while also holding space for the harm he caused the Black community in Albemarle County, including the people enslaved at Monticello and elsewhere and their descendants; and
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that we, the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors, do hereby recognize the vast and complex legacy of Thomas Jefferson and affirm our commitment to celebrating an inclusive history of our community.
Signed this 7th day of April 2021.
Ned Gallaway, Chair
Albemarle Board of County Supervisors
Recognizing that every person is a sinner and has committed egregious deeds throughout his/her life is a sign of maturity. Such acknowledgement also raises problematic questions over Albemarle County’s new “inclusive history” model:
- Will every person (race, ethnicity, heritage) or entity recognized by Albemarle County have a counter-balancing narrative added to the appurtenant proclamation
- Will all Albemarle County government-placed plaques and signage have counter-balancing verbiage added
- Will all Albemarle County Schools named for a person include add counterbalancing narrative to the school’s history description
- Will all publicly discussed historical figures in Albemarle County be subject to judgement under modern standards
- Will all Albemarle County “honorees” (elected officials, government employees, residents, students, business owners, etc.) also be concurrently disparaged for their transgressions and “harms” caused to others
Going forward, all honors and proclamations in Albemarle County will be rendered hollow if the new “vast and complex legacy” policy is equitably applied. It is more likely, however, that in the name of equity only selective demographics will be subject to the rigorous scrutiny of the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors and their minions.