New York (AFP) – New York City lawmakers have voted to remove a statue of Thomas Jefferson, one of the United States’ founding fathers, from the council chambers because of his slave-owning past.
Latino and Black council members have for years demanded the removal, which comes amid fierce debate in the United States over what to do with statues deemed offensive to minority groups.
Their push was given impetus by last year’s nationwide racial justice protests following the murder of George Floyd by a white police officer in Minneapolis.
City officials on Monday voted unanimously to remove the statue from council chambers, but delayed a decision on where to put it.
The statue is expected to be put in the New York Historical Society museum.
Jefferson held more than 600 slaves on his plantation in Virginia and fathered six children with one of them.
The third US president “embodies some of the most shameful parts of our country’s history,” councilwoman Adrienne Adams told the hearing, the New York Times reported.
In September, a statue of Confederate general Robert E. Lee that became a focal point of racial justice protests was removed from Richmond, the Virginia city that served as the capital of the pro-slavery South during the American Civil War.