Theodore Roosevelt Statue To Be Removed From American Museum Of Natural History In NYC

( Another statue that paid homage to a past president is being removed in the country. Only this time, it’s one that touted racism front and center.

The American Museum of Natural History in New York City is set to remove a statue of President Theodore Roosevelt that currently stands in front of the building. The statue features Roosevelt, the 26th president, riding on a horse, with an African man standing on one side and a Native American man standing on the other.

It’s that display of inequality among three races that made the museum board want to take the statue down. In a statement, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s office said:

“The American Museum of Natural History has asked to move the Theodore Roosevelt statue because it explicitly depicts Black and Indigenous people as subjugated and racially inferior. The city supports the museum’s request. It is the right decision and the right time to remove this problematic statue.”

In a press release posted on their website, the museum said the statue was originally meant to celebrate Roosevelt as a “devoted naturalist and author of works on natural history.” However, it also “communicates a racial hierarchy that the museum and members of the public have long found disturbing.”

The city is still trying to figure out what the next steps will be, and as such, there hasn’t been a date set for the statue’s removal yet. The statue first appeared in front of the museum in 1940 as part of a larger memorial to Roosevelt. Titled “Equestrian Statue of Theodore Roosevelt,” it was commissioned back in 1925.

As Ellen V. Futter, the museum’s president, recently said:

“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. 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.”

The move to remove Roosevelt’s statue in New York City follows a similar push to remove monuments to controversial figures. In nearby New Jersey, Monmouth University trustees recently voted to remove the name of President Woodrow Wilson from the Great Hall on campus.

Wilson, who also served as governor of New Jersey and as president of Princeton University, once called racial segregation “a benefit.” He also defended slavery, saying the slaves “were happy and well-cared for.”

At Princeton, he refused to admit African-American men, and also sought to exclude them from the history of the school.

Because of this, Monmouth President Patrick Leahy said the school would remove Wilson’s name and honor someone else who has stronger ties to the university. That person is Julian Abele, the school’s lead designer who was one of the first professionally-trained African-American architects.

In a statement he read to students on Juneteenth, Leahy said:

“Wilson was a controversial politician, who never actually set foot in the current building. Removing his name, and incorporating these earlier names, connects the centerpiece of our campus more accurately to our historical roots and eliminates a symbolic barrier to the important work of creating a truly welcoming and inclusive space in the Great Hall.”