Alameda has several streets and parks named for U.S. presidents: Washington, Madison, Adams are east of High Street and Lincoln stretches nearly the length of the city. Even lowly regarded Fillmore covers a couple of blocks before bumping into Otis School.
Washington Park: When he was honored on Willie Stargell Day, several of us standing close by heard baseball's Hall of Fame member say, "This is where it all began!" And, as a playground director at Lincoln Park, I once saw Alameda High's Andy Carey clout one that landed on the other side of Fernside Boulevard. And Carey later played for the New York Yankees.
There's a park and a street named for Jackson; but where is Jefferson?
Tall Tom rates in the top five of my list of U.S. presidents and just below Ben Franklin as one of the greatest Americans. Here's why:
He's regarded as the main author of our Declaration of Independence (it took him 17 rough drafts to develop that historic document).
He was a member of the Second Continental Congress from Virginia and later its governor. He was in George Washington's original cabinet as Secretary of State. Later, he served as a minister to France, vice president and a two-term president.
Though his presidency was marred when his trade embargo trying to keep us out of the Napoleonic Wars caused New England merchants to denounce him, Jefferson's purchase of the Louisiana Territory from France was brilliant.
His political opponents insisted he wasted $15 million of taxpayers' money to purchase what might prove to be another Sahara desert. They failed to realize what he was after. He felt America should control the Mississippi River and the Port of New Orleans, an outlet to the world. Without it, farmers of the Ohio Valley, Missouri and lower Mississippi regions would always be at the economic mercy of foreigners. Next, he sent Lewis and Clark across the vast territory to the Pacific and learned we had picked up quite a bargain.
The Sally Hemmings story? He may or may not have fathered children with her. Historians argue both ways. Remember, Thomas Jefferson was a widower whose young wife, Martha, had died while he was governor of Virginia. And, though technically a slave, Sally was actually a house servant and companion of his daughter, Polly. And, get this, Sally Hemmings was the half-sister of Jefferson's wife, Martha. They had the same white father.
This is not to justify any form of slavery. It was wrong then. It's wrong now. (By latest estimates, there are still about 20 million people in bondage in several parts of the world today!) And people in our time ought to know better than those 200 years ago!!!
Back to Jefferson: He founded the University of Virginia, could play the violin (not easy -- I tried), was an architect and inventor. Like Franklin, the man had a busy and talented mind. There must be a thoroughfare, park or whatever which could be named for him?