American Museum of Natural History removes statue of Theodore Roosevelt

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Friday, January 21, 2022

Equestrian statue of Theodore Roosevelt, 23 January 2013
Image: LunchboxLarry on Flickr.

The American Museum of Natural History in New York City removed a statue of the 26th President of the United States, Theodore Roosevelt, on Thursday following over a year of controversy. The statue, officially the "Equestrian Statue of Theodore Roosevelt," depicts Roosevelt riding a horse flanked by a Native American and an African American at either side on foot.

The statue had stood at the steps of the museum since 1940 as a tribute to the former president who the museum notes "as a devoted naturalist and author of works on natural history".

The museum requested the statue be removed in June 2020 following global protests over the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. The museum said: "the statue itself communicates a racial hierarchy that the Museum and members of the public have long found disturbing."

The request for removal was supported by former New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, Roosevelt's great-grandson Theodore Roosevelt IV and the New York City Public Design Commission (NYCPDC). The NYCPDC resolved to remove and temporarily store the statue.

The New York Young Republican Club has defended the statue. Club leader Gavin Wax told Fox News in 2020: "this was about a cultural revolution engulfing our nation. We need to stand up, we have history on our side." In November, it was announced that the statue would be moved to the Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library in Medora, North Dakota.

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