Protesters in Portland, Oregon, pulled down the Thomas Jefferson statue that sat outside of Jefferson High School Sunday night.
Protesters in Portland, Oregon, pulled down the Thomas Jefferson statue that sat outside of Jefferson High School. pic.twitter.com/HSTNEqUcTS
— AJ+ (@ajplus) June 15, 2020
I went to Thomas Jefferson HS in Portland.
This is today. pic.twitter.com/Saq1saoIBa
— Big Yikes (@BigShaun) June 15, 2020
OregonLive reports Sunday night protesters tore down a statue of Thomas Jefferson, the third president of the United States who also owned over 600 slaves during his lifetime, outside his namesake high school in Northeast Portland.
Jefferson High School was the beginning point for a Sunday march organized by Rose City Justice to protest police violence and the killing of George Floyd.
Speakers told the crowd that gathered at Jefferson that they had decided to hold Sunday’s march, which went from the high school to Alberta Park, in a historically black neighborhood that had been gentrified.
Portland Public Schools statistics have shown 32% of students at Jefferson are black, the largest share of any high school in Oregon. Another 31% of Jefferson students are white, 20% are Latino, and 13% identify as multiracial.
At about 7:15 p.m., a crowd of more than 1,000 left the high school grounds to march to the park. By the time they returned, a statue of Thomas Jefferson had been pulled from its pedestal, apparently by a smaller group. The statue fell on its side and a dent was visible in the concrete where it fell.
Earlier in the day, the statue’s pedestal had been defaced with graffiti that, among other things, identified Jefferson as a slave owner.
Jefferson, the author of the Declaration of Independence that proclaimed “that all men are created equal,” publicly decried slavery — even as he enslaved hundreds of people and profited from their forced labor.
It was unclear when the statue was taken down, but by 10 p.m. when dozens of protesters streamed back onto the football field at Jefferson High School, the statue was no longer standing.
The crowd cheered as an organizer announced: “There’s an interesting piece of history up here… Mr. Thomas is all beside himself.”
“We’re taking this city back,” the organizer said, “One school at a time. One racist statue at a time.”