Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, appearing on Fox and Friends to promote her new book Democracy: Stories from the Long Road to Freedom, made a comment that would be sure to upset the social justice warriors who want to eviscerate anything that hearkens back to the era of slavery in the United States.
Rice was asked by host Brian Kilmeade, “As an African-American woman, do you see yourself in this Constitution? Do you think that, when we look at nine of our first twelve presidents as slave owners, should we start taking their statues down and say, ‘we’re embarrassed by you?’”
Rice, known for her bluntness, responded:
I’m a firm believer in keep your history before you. So I don’t actually want to rename things that were named for slave owners. I want us to have to look at those names and recognize what they did and be able to tell our kids what they did and for them to have a sense of their own history. When you start wiping out your history, sanitizing your history to make you feel better, it’s a bad thing.
But let me just say one thing about our Constitution: that Constitution originally counted my ancestors as 3/5 of a man. And then, in 1952 my father had trouble registering to vote in Birmingham, Alabama. And then, in 2005, I stood in the Ben Franklin room, one of our founders, I took an oath of office to that same Constitution, and it was administered by a Jewish woman Supreme Court justice. That’s the story of America. The long road to freedom has indeed been long. It’s been sometimes violent. It’s had many martyrs but ultimately has been Americans claiming those institutions for themselves and expanding the definition of “We the People.”
Kilmeade pressed, “Does it make you think less, should we think less of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson because they were slave owners?”
"When you start wiping out your history, sanitizing your history to make you feel better, it’s a bad thing."
Rice remained firm: “Well, they were people of their times. I wish they had been like John Adams, who did not believe in slavery. I wish they had been like Alexander Hamilton, who was an immigrant, by the way, a child of questionable parentage from the Caribbean. I wish all of them had been like that. And Jefferson in particular, a lot of contradictions in Jefferson. But they were people of their times. And what we should celebrate is that from the Jeffersons, and the Washingtons, the slave owners, look at where we are now.
Video below, starting at 5:42: