‘The composition of the Equestrian Statue does not reflect Theodore Roosevelt’s legacy…’
(Claire Russel, Liberty Headlines) The American Museum of Natural History will remove a prominent statue of former President Theodore Roosevelt from its entrance, claiming the statue symbolizes colonization and racial discrimination.
The bronze statue of Roosevelt as stood at the entrance of the museum’s Central Park West gate since 1940, and it depicts Roosevelt on horseback with a Native American man and an African American man standing on each side. This depicts “Black and Indigenous people as subjugated and racially inferior,” New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a statement.
“The City supports the Museum’s request. It is the right decision and the right time to remove this problematic statue,” de Blasio said.
The decision to remove Roosevelt’s statue comes in light of recent violent protests that have resulted in the defacement of multiple historical figures, including Thomas Jefferson, Francis Scott Key, and George Washington.
The museum “has been profoundly moved” by this “ever-widening movement for racial justice,” the museum’s president, Ellen Futter, told the New York Times.
“We have watched as the attention of the world and the country has increasingly turned to statues as powerful and hurtful symbols of systemic racism,” Futter said.
Even Roosevelt’s great grandson, Theodore Roosevelt IV, said in a statement that he agreed it’s time to “move the statue and move forward.”
Both Roosevelt IV and Futter clarified that they don’t have a problem with Roosevelt or his legacy, but with the statue itself.
“The composition of the Equestrian Statue does not reflect Theodore Roosevelt’s legacy,” Roosevelt IV noted.
President Trump, however, called the decision to take down Roosevelt’s likeness “ridiculous.”
Ridiculous, don’t do it! https://t.co/VYez8p9AJh
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 22, 2020
The museum has not announced what it plans to do with Roosevelt’s statue, or what will replace it.
Futter did say, however, that the museum will name its its Hall of Biodiversity for Roosevelt “in recognition of his conservation legacy.”