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Sign urged for Thomas Jefferson statue on Missouri campus

February 5, 2021 GMT

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — A task force has recommended that an explanatory sign be installed near a statue of Thomas Jefferson that has prompted controversy on the University of Missouri campus in Columbia.

The sign would explain the accomplishment’s of the nation’s third president while also acknowledging that he owned up to 600 slaves and promoted policies that forced the removal of indigenous people from their lands, The Columbia Daily Tribune reported.

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The task force was created after students signed an online petition demanding that the statue be removed, and Black organizations also pushed to have it taken down. The protests came amid racial injustice demonstrations last summer.

University officials refused to have the statue removed and System President Mun Choi appointed the task force to make recommendations for putting Jefferson’s life in context.

Choi has forwarded the recommendations to the Board of Curators for its consideration, university spokesman Christian Basi said.

The report said more work needs to be done on the issue.

“Given these complicated and interwoven histories, it became clear that a single commemorative sign was only the beginning of a much larger process that exceeds the task force’s original charge,” the report reads.