A spokeswoman for New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is denying earlier reports that his family is replacing a painting of George Washington in the mayor’s mansion with more diverse historical figures.
Two administration officials told NBC New York that the Big Apple’s mayoral aimed to remove a handful of paintings depicting George Washington and other unspecified Founding Fathers from the historical Yellow Parlor in the Gracie Mansion for more diverse artifacts that will reportedly better represent the history of America.
Now the plan is to place Washington’s portrait beside an image of former slave Pierre Toussaint.
“The portrait of George Washington was NOT removed, nor was it intended to be removed,” spokeswoman Erin White told The Daily Caller.
The Yellow Parlor, where guests of New York’s mayor have been entertained for centuries, will now showcase a tomahawk given by colonialists to the chief warrior of the Iroquois in 1797, pictures of abolitionist Frederick Douglass and Toussaint and a proof of sale for a slave named Maria.
The changes were made by the mayor’s wife, Chirlane McCray, who felt the historical house desperately lacked diversity. The Wall Street Journal reported McCray wants the house to better represent the 1700s and 1800s.
“I can’t imagine anyone going through this life and looking up at the walls and handling objects with no reflection at all of who you are as a person and your contributions to what made that world,” McCray told the Wall Street Journal. “I think it would be kind of strange.” (RELATED: NYC Mayor Plans To Tax Topless Women Standing In Time Square)
The Gracie Mansion, built in 1799, has been closed for 15 months allowing the de Blasios to move from their Park Slope home into the mansion, according to The Wall Street Journal. It will reopen at the end of October, when the public can tour the property.
A total of 49 pieces of art were added. Besides the removal of the Washington paintings, it was not released how many other historic, ostensibly non-diverse artifacts were removed.
The story has been updated with comment from de Blasio’s office.