Left-Wing Organization Replaces Historical Truth at Revered Sites with Agenda-Driven Narrative November 15, 2022 | Richard Harris Richard Harris is executive director of the Truth & Liberty Coalition. We seek to educate, unify and mobilize believers in Jesus Christ to affect the reformation of nations through the seven mountains of cultural influence. The attack on America’s moral and historical foundation has intensified. To radical left-wing activists, dishonest media, and globalist elites, nothing is off limits—including some of the nation’s most revered historical sites. Woke historians have not been content with simply using the racist and historically false 1619 Project to indoctrinate school children around the nation (spawning such shameful practices as forcing elementary students to participate in “privilege walks”), they have now injected their destructive ideology into the nation’s landmarks. For example, President Thomas Jefferson, the principal author of the Declaration of Independence and the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, has long been the target of lies from the Left. Now, the historical revisionists are smearing his reputation with so-called informational displays at Monticello, his historical home and a treasured national landmark. Monticello spokesperson Jenn Lyon said the goal of the site’s presentation is to “present an honest, inclusive history of Monticello in all its aspects as well as Jefferson’s contributions to the founding of the country.” The key word in Lyon’s statement is “inclusive”—part of the “diversity, equity, and inclusion” (DEI) initiatives currently infecting corporate and academic America. Inclusivity—the leftist dogma that imposes group-conflict ideologies of race, gender, and sexuality on every aspect of life—has also reared its ugly head at other popular historical sites, including James Madison’s Montpelier, Yorktown, and Jamestown Settlement—the touchstone for the 1619 Project. Behind this revisionist history is the leftist group, Sites of Conscience. Twisting History at Monticello According to the New York Post, visitors to Jefferson’s Monticello are now inundated with a steady stream of leftist ideology when they tour the site. Monticello, run by the Thomas Jefferson Foundation, is a prominent “member” of the Sites of Conscience. The foundation aims to “facilitate conversations on a variety of topics including liberty, self-government, and the legacies of slavery.” At Monticello, an increased emphasis on the history of slavery—a key component of the 1619 Project and critical race theory (CRT) in general—overshadows the achievements of the Founding Father who drafted the Declaration of Independence (the original draft of which included a lengthy passage calling for the end of the slave trade in America and defending the humanity of the enslaved Africans). According to the Post report, docents do not miss a chance to attack Jefferson and America’s heritage, from opening the tour discussing how the land was taken from Native Americans by “violence” to constant reminders of slavery. One visitor noted that guides demeaned Jefferson’s status as a true Renaissance man—scholar, architect, and statesmen—by calling him “just a tinkerer.” At Monticello, more attention seems to be given to slave Sally Hemmings than to America’s third president, despite the fact that allegations of Hemmings being Jefferson’s mistress have never been proven and even largely discredited by the historic team who conducted the DNA test of one of Hemmings descendants (see, “Was Thomas Jefferson America’s First Abolitionist?” by Robert F. Turner). Even at the site’s gift shop, Jefferson is diminished—CRT talismans by Ibram X. Kendi (nee Henry Rogers) and books about Jefferson’s slaves vastly outnumber the books about Jefferson. “The whole thing has the feel of propaganda and manipulation,” said the Brownstone Institute’s Jeffrey Tucker, another recent guest. “People on my tour seemed sad and demoralized.” Burying Madison at Montpelier At Montpelier, Sites of Conscience pressured the governing board of the site to share control with the so-called Montpelier Descendent Committee, a group whose members ostensibly claim decent from slaves or “who feel connected to the work the institution is doing, whether or not they know of a genealogical connection.” According to a Washington Times report, of the 20 candidates recently nominated by the committee to sit on the Board of Directors, only two “indicated they have a lineage traceable to Montpelier.” Among the nominees were a former CNN host, an academic whose work was cited in the 1619 Project, and two people with connections to the left-wing Southern Poverty Law Center. “Descendent” committee members now control a majority of the Montpelier board. One board member, Mary Alexander—an actual descendent of Madison’s valet and not a member of the Montpelier Descendent Committee —blasted the group as “a Black history and Black rights organization that could care less about James Madison and his legacy.” Visitors to Montpelier will now likely learn little about Madison—fourth president, Founder, Federalist Papers writer, and “Father of the Constitution”—outside of a video shown at the visitors’ center. Following the 1619 Project narrative, according to a report, “The story of slavery is not only being told at Montpelier: It already is the dominant narrative.” Some of the exhibits go beyond giving a historic account of slavery. In one of the cellars is an 11-minute video . . . on slavery’s “lasting legacies.” On its website, Montpelier notes, “From mass incarceration, to the achievement gap, to housing discrimination, and the vicious cycle of poverty, violence, and lack of opportunity throughout America’s inner cities, the legacies of 200 years of African American bondage are still with us.” Changing the Narrative of History Despite its lofty name, Sites of Conscience is simply a left wing organization dedicated to reshaping America’s history to fit their class (group identity) struggle narrative. Their own stated goal is to “enable their visitors [to historic sites] to make connections between the past and [allegedly] related contemporary human rights issues.” Working openly to change the narrative of history, the organization is heavily funded by leftist foundations and the U.S. government. Among the “institutional funders” of the group are organizations including the Boston Foundation (which seeks “to repair past harm and build a more equitable future”) and the Ford Foundation (which promotes “disrupting systems to advance social justice”). Among the biggest boosters of Sites of Conscience are the United States Department of State and National Endowment of Democracy, each of which thrive on taxpayer dollars. The State Department is the foreign policy arm of the federal government and a core piece of the leftist bureaucratic regime in Washington. According to David Barton of WallBuilders, who interacted with officials during the 2021 collapse and evacuation of Afghanistan, the State Department “runs independently” and “has its own agenda” which is not always consistent with what is best for America. The National Endowment for Democracy awards financial grants globally to NGOs that promote democracy. While seemingly benign in its promotion of democracy in places like the Middle East and China, the National Endowment for Democracy has its roots in intelligence operations and espionage. Widespread work by the CIA in foreign countries during the Cold War—undermining Soviet-leaning regimes—was viewed as meddling in foreign affairs through proxy conflicts. The National Endowment for Democracy legitimized those efforts by presenting itself to the public as a pro-democracy nonprofit organization. Tearing Down the House from Within If the State Department exists to supposedly protect U.S. interests abroad and the National Endowment for Democracy supports democracy efforts worldwide, why are they working to fundamentally transform treasured historical sites inside of America? It is yet another instance of the nation’s self-appointed ruling elites manipulating the apparatus of government for political purposes. Leftist bureaucrats embedded in federal agencies along with their operatives within NGOs and academia are actively trying to replace American exceptionalism with homogenized globalism. A seemingly intentional strategy of “managed decline” has stifled America’s energy independence, weakened the nation’s military, destroyed its economy, and is now erasing its history. The 1619 Project and its related race-based Marxist ideology—implemented in schools and historical sites across the nation—is intended to demoralize and defeat Americans by removing a sense of national unity and purpose, replacing it with bitterness and division. The end goal of smearing America’s heroes and replacing a true historical record with agenda-driven fabrications is the fundamental transformation of American institutions. If woke ideologues can brainwash the public into accepting that the Founding Fathers were evil men who birthed a nation into the original sin of slavery, then it becomes credible to also disregard the Declaration and Constitution, which they drafted in favor of a collectivist regime of their own making? Standing for Truth It’s up to patriotic American to keep alive the true history of the nation by preserving historical sites, celebrating heroes, and acknowledging how the United States overcame tyranny and slavery to become a beacon of individual liberty and the rule of law to the rest of the world. Our friends David and Tim Barton at WallBuilders and William J. “Bill” Federer of American Minute have a wealth of resources available at their websites that inform and educate Americans about the nation’s founding heritage and deep Christian roots. Truth & Liberty exists to educate, unify, and mobilize believers in Jesus Christ to affect the reformation of nations—beginning with the United States. Our Research Center also houses a number of links to foundational documents and educational resources that enrich citizens’ understanding about their rights and history. Learn More Explore the Truth & Liberty website, subscribe to receive regular updates, and visit our Research Center for great practical resources. Also, learn how you can become a Truth & Liberty Coalition member and join us in standing for truth in the public square.