The Connecticut Democratic Party has officially dumped both Thomas Jefferson’s and Andrew Jackson’s names from its annual fundraising dinner due to their ties to slavery. The move was made in response to demands from the state’s chapter of the NAACP.
Each fall, the state party holds a Jefferson-Jackson-Bailey dinner to raise money for the party. Similar Jefferson-Jackson dinners are held by Democrats around the country (the Bailey name is peculiar to Connecticut).
But now the first two names are gone, voted out unanimously by the party’s state board in just a few minutes with almost no discussion, according to the Hartford Courant.
“As members of the Democratic Party, we are proud of our history as the party of inclusion. Democrats have led the way on civil rights, LGBT equality and equal rights for women,” the board’s resolution declared. “It is only fitting that the name of the party’s most visible annual event reflects our dedication to diversity and forward-looking vision.”
A replacement name will be chosen later.
Jefferson is well-known to most Americans for writing the Declaration of Independence, serving as America’s third president, championing religious freedom, and being one of the nation’s leading intellectuals in its early years. He was also a key figure in the genesis of the Democratic-Republican party, which evolved into the modern Democratic Party, so throughout history Democrats have been happy to claim him as their own.
Now, though, Democrats are souring on Jefferson due to his position as a slaveholder, as well as the belief that he fathered children with slave Sally Hemmings.
Andrew Jackson is even more vilified today. While his presidency was a key point in the rise of the “common man” as a major force in American politics, Jackson was also a slaveholder, and his policies toward American Indians have been characterized by some as genocidal.
Calls to change the name grew after the massacre of black churchgoers in Charleston, South Carolina last month.
Party chairman Nick Balletto said he hoped the rest of the country would join Connecticut in rejecting Jefferson’s legacy.
“I wasn’t looking to be a trailblazer or set off a trend that’s going to affect the rest of the country,” Balletto told the Connecticut Post. “Hopefully, they’ll follow suit when they see it’s the right thing to do.”
Balletto added that the name simply had to go, because some people were offended by it.
“When something offends someone, it’s beyond being politically correct,” Balletto said. “It just causes a need for change.”
“You can’t change history, but you don’t have to honor it.
This report, by Blake Neff, was cross-posted by arrangement with the Daily Caller News Foundation.