The statue of President Theodore Roosevelt outside the American Museum of Natural History in New York City will officially be removed due to complaints of it being a symbol of racism and colonialism.
The New York City Public Design Commission voted unanimously on Monday to relocate the statue that has stood at the museum steps since 1940 and depicts the 26th President flanked by a Native American and African man.
After more than a year of talk, it’s official: The Theodore Roosevelt statue in front of the American Museum of Natural History is coming down. https://t.co/C0jWDEheTV
— The New York Times (@nytimes) June 23, 2021
The statue will reportedly be located at a to-be-determined cultural institution dedicated to the Bull Moose’s life and legacy, the New York Times reported.
The statue has been under public scrutiny since 2017 and the museum originally requested the removal of it shortly after the June 2020 death of George Floyd amid increased scrutiny of supposedly “racist” historical symbols.
Mayor Bill de Blasio at the time welcomed the decision, saying that it was the “right decision and the right time to remove this problematic statue.”
Roosevelt family members also expressed approval for the removal of the statue, with Theodore Roosevelt IV, great-grandson of the president, saying at the time that “the world does not need statues, relics of another age, that reflect neither the values of the person they intend to honor nor the values of equality and justice.”
“The understanding of statues and monuments as powerful and hurtful symbols of systemic racism became even more evident in the wake of the movement for racial justice that emerged after the murder of George Floyd,” said Dan Slippen, vice president of government relations at the museum. (RELATED: Portland Demonstrators Reportedly Tore Down Roosevelt And Lincoln Statues During ‘Day Of Rage’)
“It has become clear that removing the statue would be a symbol of progress toward an inclusive and equitable community,” he added.
Sam Biederman of the New York City Parks Department added that the statue “was not erected with malice of intent,” but that its composition “supports a thematic framework of colonization and racism.”