Letter – Not a fan of Jenkinson

Published 6:50 pm Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Editor, The Smithfield Times:

This past Sunday the Isle of Wight County Historical Society did a true disservice to our county, the commonwealth and the United States of America.

In the Smithfield High School auditorium the society foisted upon us, at $25 each, the political “radical” (his word, not mine) Clay Jenkinson.

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Isle of Wight County Schools compounded this mistake by encouraging students to hear this “radicalized” speaker by giving free admission.

Clay Jenkinson, although his channeling of Thomas Jefferson is well done, is a self-proclaimed political radical who admires Fidel Castro. According to PBS, Jenkinson called the 1959 communist-inspired Cuban revolution “right and righteous” and he wrote, “I find myself on Castro’s side.”

One would be hard-pressed to find anyone in the Marxist-Leninist Republic of Cuba (except among the privileged Communist leadership, of course) or within the brave Cuban exile community here in America who agrees with him. Contrary to Jenkinson’s obtuse assertion, the Cuban people have suffered greatly under the Castro brothers and their totalitarian proteges for more than six decades now.

And, more important, during the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, when President Kennedy and Premier Khrushchev were both desperately seeking a way to avoid nuclear war, it was Fidel Castro, alone among world leaders, who encouraged his “Comrade” to strike the “imperialists” first.

This is the man Clay Jenkinson admires!

In the future I would advise our public school hierarchy to more carefully vet whom they allow to use our learning spaces. The auditoriums are built and maintained by us taxpayers and must not be used by those who express anti-American sentiments.

But the majority of my criticism must be leveled at our own Historical Society. I suppose they were blinded by Jenkinson’s “star” status as a performer and woefully (willfully?) ignorant of his Marxist leanings in order to make money off a trusting community.

I suggest also that the Historical Society focus on telling the exciting story of our own county’s remarkable history and refrain from trying to raise funds by bringing in controversial figures who have absolutely no connection to, or even interest in, our own local history.


Albert P. Burckard Jr.