If you’ve ever been to the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, then you’ve probably seen the gargantuan statue of Theodore Roosevelt on horseback with a Native American man and African man by his side, that stands guard out front.
The American Museum of Natural History recently stated that they will be taking down the statue of President Theodore Roosevelt following many years of objections to the theme it depicts.
In recent months, protestors and local governments in cities around the world have been successful in removing statues of white supremacists and racists. The American Museum of Natural History has put in a request to the New York City government to do the same, as the city has the rightful ownership of both the statue and the property.
Those who object to the Roosevelt statue say that it is due to the fact that the scene represents both racial hierarchy and colonialism.
Ellen Sutter, the American Museum of Natural History’s president, has been quoted saying that “our museum community has been profoundly moved by the ever-widening movement for racial justice”, which has all come about after the recent murder of George Floyd.
The museum has also taken note of states around the country that are increasingly removing statues and monuments that serve as symbols of hate and racism. Sutter says that as they strive to advance the institution’s quest for racial justice, as well as the quest of the city, state, and country, they want to make a commitment of the people to create and sustain a community that is both equitable and inclusive.
For those who aren’t aware of the statue, it is worth noting that it was erected in front of the museum back in 1939 after it was commissioned in 1925 just after the death of Roosevelt. Bill de Blasio, the New York City mayor, established a commission in 2017 to evaluate possibly controversial statues around the city. The outcome from the commission was that it should remain standing, though the museum should also provide context around its history and origins.
While the museum did establish an exhibit detailing the history of the statue, they have recently put out a statement saying that the overall approach was wrong, which is why they eventually made a request to the city to have it taken down.
De Blasio said in a recent statement that the “American Museum of Natural History wants the statue of Theodore Roosevelt removed, as it depicts black and indigenous people as racially inferior or subjugated”. New York City is supporting the decision of the museum and believes that it is the perfect time to get rid of a statue so problematic.
Of course, there are many others, including POTUS, who are not too happy about the whole thing.
What are your thoughts?
Do you believe that the statue should be taken down or do you believe they’ve gone too far?
Let us know!