The American Museum of Natural History in New York City reveals its plans to remove a statue of Theodore Roosevelt. This comes after years of objections that it symbolizes colonial expansion and racial discrimination.
The statue shows Roosevelt on horseback with a Native American man and an African man standing next to the horse.
“The American Museum of Natural History has asked to remove the Theodore Roosevelt statue because it explicitly depicts Black and Indigenous people as subjugated and racially inferior,” Mayor Bill de Blasio announced in a written statement. “It is the right decision and the right time to remove this problematic statue.”
Three years ago, protesters splashed red liquid on the statue’s base. They then called for its removal as a symbol of “patriarchy, white supremacy and settler-colonialism.”
“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,” said Ellen V. Futter, the museum’s president, in an interview. “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,” she also added.
Futter further mentioned that the museum’s decision was based on the statue’s “hierarchical composition” – and not on Roosevelt. The museum honors the said historical figure as “a pioneering conservationist.”
“Simply put, the time has come to move it,” she then added.