A New York City Commission has unanimously voted to remove the Natural History Museum’s statue of Theodore Roosevelt from the premises.
The American Museum of Natural History first announced its intention to remove the statue last year. However, the statue – located at the entrance of the museum – was deemed to be standing on public property. As such, it required clearance of the city administration before it could be removed. Now, that last hurdle is removed as an NYC commission voted unanimously in favor of removing the statue.
The statue primarily featured former US president Theodore Roosevelt atop a horse. It also featured a native American and a Black man, standing on either side of the statue. For many years, there have been accusations of racism against the statue. The critics have pointed out the stark difference between Roosevelt and the other two men. Roosevelt is fully clothed and atop a horse, while the others are barechested and on the ground. Many saw this as fundamental inequality and racism in the idea behind the statue. In the past, NYC mayor Bill de Blasio has even called the depiction of the two men as “racially inferior”.
The protests for the removal of the statue were first called on by the group Decolonize This Place. The group made the same demands since 2016 on each Indigenous People Day. Other groups have also protested for its removal. Meanwhile, Theodore Roosevelt IV (great-grandson of Roosevelt) showed support for the removal of the statue. A trustee of Teddy Roosevelt’s foundation, he said that the statue went against the man’s own vision.