Jefferson street sign stirs controversy in Bushwick neighborhood

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Below the street sign marking Jefferson Avenue in Bushwick, an unknown person attached a sign that reads “was a slave master.”

The Department of Transportation removed the attached sign, but some in the community say the street name is offensive.

“I think that the street being named Jefferson is offensive and I think it should come down, especially in this neighborhood,” Starr Lucas, a resident, said.

The Thomas Jefferson Foundation states that while the third U.S. president wrote “all men are created equal” in the U.S. Constitution, he enslaved more than 600 people over the course of his life. He profited directly from the institution of slavery and once wrote that he suspected black people to be inferior to white people.

"I personally see no problem with confronting the ugly history associated with a lot of the so-called founding fathers and I think that stuff should be faced and discussed," resident Patrick Walsh said.

A spokesperson from the DOT told News 12 that it is illegal to tamper with city-owned property, including street signs.

It is unclear if the sign is actually named after Thomas Jefferson, but many residents say the street should be renamed.

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