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Letter: Thomas Jefferson was a complex figure

Hofstra students offended by his statue should expand their knowledge and see the whole man.

Hofstra University's president has decided that a campus

Hofstra University's president has decided that a campus statue of Thomas Jefferson will remain outside the student center.

Hofstra University president Stuart Rabinowitz made the correct decision in refusing to remove a statue of Thomas Jefferson [“Statue to remain at Hofstra,” News, June 1].

Although a slave owner, Jefferson was conflicted and tried to ban slavery in his original Declaration of Independence, calling it a “cruel war against human nature.” But Southern colonies objected. He also took England’s king to task for introducing slavery into the colonies, but this also was deleted.

Jefferson was, as were all the members of the Continental Congress, incredibly brave, because the act of treason against England was punishable by a slow and painful execution.

Ironically, according to historians, Jefferson fathered six children with his slave Sally Hemings, with whom he maintained a long relationship. Although the stain of slavery can never be erased from our history, neither can the bravery, imagination and brilliance of our Founding Fathers. Students offended by his statue should expand their knowledge and see the whole man, not just the part that offends them. This is what education is all about.

Mel Young,Lawrence

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