In the summer of 2020, Black students, faculty, and staff at the University of Missouri called upon leadership to remove a bronze statue of Thomas Jefferson from MU's Francis Quadrangle.
This was not the first time members of the MU community had petitioned for the statue's removal. Students protesting racial injustice at Mizzou in 2015 and 2016 attempted to draw attention to aspects of Jefferson's history and identity often ignored or obscured in traditional narratives: his participation in, dependence on, and defense of the institution of slavery; his rape of Sally Hemings; and his views and policies towards Black and Indigenous peoples.
This guide, designed by MU librarians, features links to primary sources, scholarship, news reporting, and other resources that address these parts of Jefferson's life and legacy.
If, as Mizzou's administrators claim, it's better to "recontextualize" the Jefferson statue than to remove it entirely, then we hope this information provides valuable context and leads to an understanding of the connection between Jefferson and the state of Missouri, and the reasons so many in our community find the statue offensive.
This guide is a work-in-progress, and we anticipate adding more information on each of its pages well into the future.