The Museum of Natural History of New York announced Sunday that it will remove the statue of former US President Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt from the institution’s front door., in the midst of a growing movement taking place both nationally and internationally and calls to get rid of historical monuments considered racist.
The museum said it made the request to the mayor of New York, Bill de Blasio, and that he agreed. “As we strive to meet the passionate pursuit of racial justice for our institution, our city, and our country, we believe that removing the statue will be a symbol of progress and our commitment to build and support an inclusive and egalitarian museum community and a more open society“Ellen Futter, president of the museum, said in a statement.
Teddy Roosevelt, who was American President from 1901 to 1909, is considered one of the first American conservationists and naturalists.
But his bronze statue, which since the museum’s inauguration in 1940 presents him as powerful, on horseback, along with a black man and an indigenous man who flank him on foot on either side, symbolizes for many colonialism and racial discrimination.
The mayor accepted the request to remove the imposing statue of Theodore Roosevelt from the entrance of the museum located in Central Park West, in front of central parkAccording to the statement, amid national protests against racism and police brutality catalyzed by the death of George Floyd, a black man, by a white police officer on May 25 in Minneapolis.
“The American Museum of Natural History has asked remove the statue because it explicitly depicts blacks and indigenous people as subjugated and racially inferior. The city supports the museum’s request, ”de Blasio said, quoted in the text. “It is the right decision and the right time to remove this troublesome statue,” added the mayor.
Roosevelt’s great-grandson, Theodore Roosevelt IV, the museum’s trustee, agrees. “The world does not need statues, relics from another era, which do not reflect the values of the person they want to honor, nor the values of equality and justice.“He stated in the same statement.
However, the president Donald Trump spoke out against. Quoting a link to the news, he commented: “Ridiculous, don’t do it.”
Protesters protesting racism across the United States have attacked or bumped into statues of various historical figures, including the Italian navigator Christopher Columbus, portrayed for centuries as the “discoverer of America” but now considered by many to be responsible for the genocide of natives. Representations of him were targeted for these behaviors in Richmond, Virginia; in Boston, Massachusetts; and in Miami, Florida.
Protesters also knocked down the only statue of a Confederate general, Albert Pike, in the capital of the United States on Friday night, in an act that the President Donald Trump considered a “disgrace” for the country.
Events of a similar nature have taken place in other countries of the world, including England -where the slave dealer Edward Colston got off at Briston and others at Oxford- and at Belgium, where representations of former King Leopold II were attacked, responsible for millions of deaths in what was then known as the Belgian Congo.
(With information from AFP)
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