Following a high-profile story about a left-wing activist group attempting to force the re-naming of the Jefferson-Madison Regional Library (JMRL), opposition to the change has been fierce and consonant.
Reclaimed Roots Descendants Alliance addressed the JMRL Board of Trustees at the Board’s May meeting, dismissing Thomas Jefferson and James Madison as “slaveholders” and “white supremacist[s]” unworthy of association with the regional library system.
In response to the proposal, the Louisa County Board of Supervisors unanimously passed a resolution opposing the name change. Louisa quickly was followed by their counterparts in Greene County who also passed an opposition resolution without dissent.
Feedback received by the JMRL has been unified in enmity toward the proposal, with one notable exception: the recently renamed Thomas Jefferson Memorial Church – Unitarian Universalist.
An individual self-identifying as a “church” member stated:
Dear regional library leadership,
I encourage you to change the name of our regional library.
Our church, the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Charlottesville, changed our name because:
-the old name didn’t welcome diversity
-the old name celebrated a man who enslaved people although he spouted words of equality
-with the racial disparities in educational achievement in our community the public spaces with books for children should be welcoming to all
-having the names of people who didn’t approve of educating even to be able to read an enslaved population that was at least the same size as the white population
-a name on a building means the organization inside that building holds those people in high esteem and values the actions of those people
Actions speak louder than words.
These same reasons apply to the name of the regional library. Your actions matter.
Due to covenantal restrictions in the regional library agreement, the name change and appurtenant history eradication attempt may be a progressive pipe dream. Any alterations to the compact require the unanimous consent of member jurisdictions—a presently unfathomable scenario.
Read the entirety of received feedback (blowback) to the proposed JMRL rebranding: