According to a report from The New York Times, the statue of former president Theodore Roosevelt standing at the entrance of Manhattan's American Museum of Natural History will be taken down. As you may have guessed if you've noticed the uptick in statues being removed by protestors across the U.S., this decision is related to the widespread nationwide movement against racial inequality and police brutality.
The statue, shown above, shows Roosevelt (who was New York's Governor prior to ascending to the presidency) on horseback in hunter's garb flanked by a Native American and Black man. Those two were intended to represent guides for America and Africa.
As NYT points out, the statue has been up in front of the museum since 1940, and while the building sits on public land, it's privately owned. Said owners requested the statue be taken down, and New York City agreed with that idea.
TMZ reports that Mayor Bill de Blasio said the statue "explicitly depicts Black and Indigenous people as subjugated and racially inferior." He further claimed now is the time to "remove this problematic statue."
Reports state that the monument has been defaced in the past, which is backed up by a quick perusal of the Getty Images archive. Research requiring slightly more effort shows that the statue has become more publicly disputed in recent years.
The museum's president, Ellen Futter, rationalized the decision in a comment given to NYT.
“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,” Futter said. “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. Simply put, the time has come to move it.”