A statue of President Theodore Roosevelt that has stood outside the Museum of Natural History in New York City for more than 80 years was removed Wednesday night after complaints of racism and colonization.
The bronze statue was removed in pieces and is expected to be shipped to the new Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library in Medora, North Dakota, The New York Times reported. It is estimated to cost $2 million for the removal process.
#HappeningNow Teddy Roosevelt Statue has now been FULLY REMOVED outside NYC Museum of Natural History AMNH
Video by Kevin RC Wilson (FNTV)
— Scootercaster (@ScooterCasterNY) January 20, 2022
The statue depicted the former president on horseback with an African man and Native American next to his side. The New York City Public Design Commission voted unanimously in June 2021 to remove the statue.
The removal of a Theodore Roosevelt statue at the Natural History Museum in Manhattan, which stirred protests as a symbol of colonialism and racism, has begun. It will be sent to his presidential library in North Dakota in a few weeks. https://t.co/QdKcfWEzDG pic.twitter.com/mnqJXYZ3Du
— The New York Times (@nytimes) January 19, 2022
Sam Biederman of the New York City Parks Department spoke at the commission in June of 2021, saying although the statue “was not erected with malice of intent,” its composition “supports a thematic framework of colonization and racism.”
“Over the last few weeks, our museum community has been profoundly moved by the ever-widening movement for racial justice that has emerged after the killing of George Floyd,” the museum’s president, Ellen V. Futter, told The Times in June of 2020.
“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.” (RELATED: Pelosi Calls For Removal Of Confederate Statues From U.S. Capitol)
Roosevelt’s great-grandson Theodore Roosevelt IV, expressed his support for the removal of the giant statue, telling The Times last summer “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 composition of the Equestrian Statue does not reflect Theodore Roosevelt’s legacy. It is time to move the statue and move forward.”
Demonstrators rallied outside the Museum of Natural History in June 2020 against the statue’s removal. The New York Young Republicans Club organized the event, and those in attendance held signs that read “DEFEND OUR MONUMENTS” and “Can not learn from the past if we erase HISTORY!!”, The New York Post reported.
“This statue is of a proud American. Was he perfect? No. No one was perfect … he did a lot for this country,” Gavin Wax, president of the New York Young Republicans Club, reportedly said at the time.
“We’re here today because we’ve bettered ourselves as a society, and we continue to better ourselves as a society,” Wax said. “But we’ll never be able to do that anymore if we continue to tear down our history and forget our past — and we’ll be doomed to repeat it.”