National Newswatch
National Opinion Centre

Like so many places in the American South, Charlottesville is beautiful and haunted. Thomas Jefferson haunts the iconic University of Virginia campus he designed like an invisible chancellor, just as Sally Hemings and hundreds of other slaves haunt Monticello as self-evident truths in the course of human events.

In 2010, I took a guided tour of Jefferson’s hilltop plantation during which the words “slave,” “slaves,” and “slavery” were never mentioned. Since then, the $35-million Mountaintop Project, designed to accurately depict Jefferson’s persona as both a slave owner and the genius who authored the Declaration of Independence and its immortal assertion that all men are created equal, has transformed Monticello.

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