A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from November 19, 2019
“An educated citizenry is a vital requisite for our survival as a free people”

[This entry includes research by Bill Mullins on the American Dialect Society listserv.]

Wikipedia: Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson (April 13, 1743[a] – July 4, 1826) was an American statesman, diplomat, lawyer, architect, philosopher, and Founding Father who served as the third president of the United States from 1801 to 1809. Previously, he had served as the second vice president of the United States from 1797 to 1801. The principal author of the Declaration of Independence, Jefferson was a proponent of democracy, republicanism, and individual rights, motivating American colonists to break from the Kingdom of Great Britain and form a new nation; he produced formative documents and decisions at both the state and national level.

Monticello.org
An educated citizenry is a vital requisite for our survival as a free people (Spurious Quotation)
(...)
Status: This quotation has not been found in any of the writings of Thomas Jefferson.
Comments: This quotation seems to have originated in an article of the same title on PicktheBusiness.com. It is an accurate paraphrase of Jefferson’s views on education, but the exact phrasing seems to belong to the author of the article, and not Jefferson. The article title appears to have been mistaken by others as a direct quotation from Jefferson’s 1816 letter to Charles Yancey, which is mentioned in the article, but the exact quotation does not appear in that letter or in any other known Jefferson writings.
- Anna Berkes, March 30, 2010; revised August 24, 2011

1 October 1925, Dallas (TX) Morning News, “West Texas Dream Fulfilled as Texas Tech Opens; Expect 1,000 Students Will Enroll” by John Sneed, sec. 1, pg. 16, col. 4:
Marvin Jones, Congressman, declared in his speech this is to be just a family reunion and after praising Texas Tech, said that the greatest curse of the world is ignorance and that an educated citizenry is the safeguard of the Republic.”

30 December 1926, The News and Observer (Raleigh, NC), “Hits at Rule of Balance Sheet,” pg. 2, col. 7:
(Remarks of Dr. W. S. Bernard of the University of North Carolina.—ed.)
“An educated citizenry is more necessary to the culture and development of the State than anything else under heaven.”

Business Insider
19 Famous Thomas Jefferson ‘Quotes’ That He Actually Never Said At All
Walt Hickey Sep 17, 2013, 1:45 PM
(...)
5. “An educated citizenry is a vital requisite for our survival as a free people.”
While an accurate interpretation of Jefferson’s opinions on education, the origin of this “quote” is an article on PickTheBusiness.com. The Internet was not available to Jefferson nor any of his contemporaries, as far as we know.

Words Alive
Thomas Jefferson Didn’t Say That & Why It Matters
Words Alive May 8, 2017
BY CHRISTINE RICHARDSON
(...)
Speaking of which, have a think about this familiar quote: “An educated citizenry is a vital requisite for our survival as a free people.” This quote is often attributed to Thomas Jefferson. However, there is no evidence he ever said it. Why is this important? The meaning of the quote is very powerful and is said to nicely summarize Jefferson’s views on education. But, he never actually said it. We know this because of historical records kept by libraries and archives.

Washington (DC) Free Beacon
Dem Rep Celebrates Education Week by Tweeting Fake Jefferson Quote
David Rutz - NOVEMBER 19, 2019 2:45 PM
A Democratic congresswoman on Tuesday celebrated American Education Week by tweeting out a quote erroneously attributed to President Thomas Jefferson.

Rep. Lizzie Fletcher (D., Tex.) tweeted an image of Jefferson overlaid with the quote, “An educated citizenry is a vital requisite for our survival as a free people.”

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityEducation/Schools • Tuesday, November 19, 2019 • Permalink


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