NYC’s American Museum of National History will remove a statue of former President Theodore Roosevelt commissioned in 1925 and unveiled in 1940 amid the growing movement for racial justice.
The statue features the 26th president of the U.S. on a horse towering over Native American and African figures who walk alongside. In 2017, activists poured red paint over the statue’s base, meant to symbolize blood.
“The Statue has long been controversial because of the hierarchical composition that places one figure on horseback and the others walking alongside, and many of us find its depictions of the Native American and African figures and their placement in the monument racist,” wrote the museum.
Added the museum: “From 2017 to 2018, the Mayoral Advisory Commission on City Art, Monuments, and Markers considered whether to remove the Statue along with two other New York City monuments and one historical marker. The Commission did not reach consensus on the Statue, and the City directed that it should stay in place with additional interpretation and context to be provided by the Museum. Last year, the Museum opened Addressing the Statue, an exhibition about the history of the Statue and contemporary reactions to it. We are proud of that work, which helped advance our and the public’s understanding of the Statue and its history and promoted dialogue about important issues of race and cultural representation, but in the current moment, it is abundantly clear that this approach is not sufficient.”
“While the Statue is owned by the City, the Museum recognizes the importance of taking a position at this time,” it continued. “We believe that the Statue should no longer remain and have requested that it be moved.”
Donald Trump on Sunday expressed his opposition to removing the statue.