A bronze statue of the 26th president of the United States, Theodore Roosevelt, will be removed from the main entrance of the American Museum of Natural History due to claims of “racism” and symbolism of colonialist dominance.
On Monday, The New York City Public Design Commission unanimously voted to move the president’s statue, which had been at the museum for over 80 years, The New York Times reported.
The protests that led to talks for over a year and finally the recent vote were largely due to an African American and Native American that are depicted on the sides of Roosevelt, who is mounted on a steed.
In mid-2020, the challenges led the museum, which is owned by the City of New York, to put forward a suggestion to remove the statue.
Mayor Bill de Blasio subsequently said that he supports the request.
“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,” de Blasio said.
The great-grandson of the president, who is also a trustee of the museum, said in a statement that he supports the idea.
“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,” 77-year-old Theodore Roosevelt IV said.
“The composition of the Equestrian Statue does not reflect Theodore Roosevelt’s legacy. It is time to move the statue and move forward.”
The statue would be moved to a cultural institution that preserves Roosevelt’s life and legacy.
The decision came as numerous protests asserting racial inequality recently broke out nationwide.
Museum President Ellen Futter told the New York Times that the decision was made due to the “hierarchical composition” of the statue and not on the president, who is regarded as a “pioneering conservationist” by the museum.
The museum is also changing the name of its “Hall of Biodiversity” to “Roosevelt” as a compensatory gesture “in recognition of his conservation legacy.”