Civil rights activist Al Sharpton said the Jefferson Memorial and other public monuments to people who owned slaves should not receive public funds during an interview Tuesday night.
The Jefferson Memorial is a presidential memorial in Washington, D.C., dedicated to Thomas Jefferson, the third U.S. president and drafter of the Declaration of Independence. It is managed by the National Park Service under its National Mall and Parks Division.
Jefferson, like many of the Founding Fathers, owned slaves and fathered at least one child with one of them, Sally Hemmings.
Asked by journalist Charlie Rose at the 15:30 mark of the above video whether the Jefferson Memorial should be taken down, Sharpton did not immediately answer, instead discussing the personal nature of the debate about such monuments for African Americans.
"This is not some kind of removed discussion from us. Our families were victims of this," he said.
"So therefore everybody associated with slavery in terms of any public monument to them—" Rose said.
"When you look at the fact that public monuments are supported by public funds, you're asking me to subsidize the insult of my family," Sharpton said. "I would repeat that the public should not be paying to uphold somebody who has had that kind of background. You have private museums. You have other things that you may want to do there."