A statue of Teddy Roosevelt, which has stood at the entrance of NYC’s American Museum of Natural History since 1940, will be removed – a demand by protesters in the wake of George Floyd’s killing.
Protesters have long sought the removal of Roosevelt’s statue. The demand first began in 2017. With the latest round of protests it seems they have gotten their wish.
“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,” the museum’s president, Ellen V. Futter, told The New York Times.
“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 statue of Roosevelt on horseback flanked by an African-American man and a Native American man symbolizes a painful history of racism and colonialism, according to the activists. Roosevelt is not the main target of the protester’s ire but the superiority they say the memorial depicts.
The “hierarchical composition” and not Roosevelt is the reason for the museum’s decision, Futter said.
Curiously, Roosevelt is considered by many to be one of the most progressive U.S. presidents ever and a strong environmentalist. He went after big corporations, earning a reputation as a “trust buster,” established the Food and Drug Administration and significantly expanded the country’s system of national parks and forests.
Photo by Paulo JC Nogueira via Wikimedia Commons