A towering statue of Theodore Roosevelt located on the front steps of The American Museum of Natural History is being removed, as per The New York Times. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio confirmed the statue’s removal this Sunday in a public statement, expressing that the museum made the request. The bronze sculpture was erected in 1940, portraying Roosevelt on horseback with a Native American man and an African man standing beside his horse.
“As we strive to advance our institution’s, our City’s, and our country’s passionate quest for racial justice, we believe that removing the Statue will be a symbol of progress and of our commitment to build and sustain an inclusive and equitable Museum community and broader society,” President of the American Museum of Natural History, Ellen Futter, said in a statement.
People have publicly denounced the statue as early as 2017, expressing that it’s a symbol of “patriarchy, white supremacy, and settler-colonialism,” as reported by NBC New York. In the same year, protestors covered the statue’s base with red liquid to represent blood. Conversely, President Donald Trump disagreed with the decision to take down the statue. Just after midnight on Monday, he tweeted: “Ridiculous, don’t do it!”
NYC Council members also wrote a letter last Thursday to de Blasio demanding that a Thomas Jefferson statue be taken down from City Hall. De Blasio responded last Friday saying that a newly formed Racial Justice and Reconciliation Commission will be examining the Jefferson statue. The commission will also analyze areas where discrimination continues to persist such as housing, criminal justice, environmental justice, education and place-based disparities.
Many statues — stateside and abroad — have been removed or damaged in the past couple weeks amid nationwide Black Lives Matter protests sparked by the murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer in May.