The Louisiana Democratic Party has dropped the names Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson from its annual fundraising dinner.
The Jefferson-Jackson dinner will now be called the True Blue Gala, reports the Associated Press. This year’s event is set to be held Aug. 26 in New Orleans.
The name change is in step with similar moves by Democratic party chapters in several other states that wanted to distance themselves from the two former presidents, both of whom owned slaves. Those states include Arkansas, Georgia, Missouri and Connecticut.
State Sen. Karen Carter Peterson, chairwoman of the Louisiana Democratic Party, said last fall that the dinner would be rebranded “to reflect the progress of the party and the changing times.” Party leaders decided on the new name after conducting surveys and having conversations with Democrats across the state.
While they are considered founders of the Democratic Party, Jefferson and Jackson are increasingly criticized because they owned slaves. Jackson is also controversial because he signed the Indian Removal Act which led to the Trail of Tears, the forced removal of Natives Americans from their ancestral homes, primarily in Tennessee and Georgia.
Jarrett Stepman, an editor for The Daily Signal, called the scrubbing of their names from the fundraising dinner in Louisiana “the latest in what has become an all too common crusade to wipe great American historical figures from places of honor and memory.”
Stepman said progressives refuse to see the good the two men did despite their flaws.
“What is particularly astonishing about this historical slap in the face is the fact that no two men were more responsible for the state of Louisiana’s existence than Jefferson and Jackson,” Stepman wrote. “It’s easy to forget that the United States – an unparalleled superpower extending from sea to shining sea – was not long ago a sparsely-populated backwater confined to the East Coast. It was the vision and statesmanship of early American leaders that led to the extension of the country westward.”
Stepman noted Jefferson’s involvement in the Louisiana Purchase and Jackson’s leadership in the Battle of New Orleans in the War of 1812.
“It is sad and perhaps telling that Democrats no longer find it acceptable to pay tribute to these two important men. Both were once seen as champions of the common man, who through their strength and ideas defined and protected the seeds of American liberty,” Stepman wrote, later noting, “though times and mores often change for better or worse, there is something deeply nihilistic about wiping from memory those who came before and meant so much.”