Theodore Roosevelt Statue Removed From New York City Museum, Headed to South Dakota

By: The Epoch Times

A statue of former President Theodore Roosevelt was removed from outside a major New York City museum on Wednesday after officials decided the way it was structured is racist.

The statue, created by James Earle Fraser, was placed in 1940 just outside the American Museum of Natural History in the Upper West Side neighborhood of Manhattan.

It shows Roosevelt astride a horse with a Native American man and an African-American man on each side of him.

Officials said the composition of the statue was racist and voted last year to remove it.

“The Statue has long been controversial because of the hierarchical composition that places one figure on horseback and the others walking alongside, and many of us find its depictions of the Native American and African figures and their placement in the monument racist,” staffers at the museum said in a memorandum requesting the removal, prompting a unanimous vote by the city’s Public Design Commission.

Theodore Roosevelt IV, the great-grandson of the former president and a museum trustee, supported the removal, arguing the statue doesn’t reflect his relative’s legacy.

Crews dismantled the statue on Thursday, packaging it for transportation to South Dakota.

The New York City museum has agreed to a long-term loan to the Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library, which is set to open in Medora in 2026.

Officials at that museum said they find the statue problematic but will work on creating a display that would accompany it.

“Museums are supposed to do hard things,” Edward F. O’Keefe, chief executive officer of the library’s foundation, said in a previous statement. “It is said that ‘those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it,’ and our job is to forthrightly examine history to understand the present and make a better future.”

Statues of historical figures were targeted by protesters and rioters in 2020 after the killing of George Floyd in Minnesota, with a number being toppled. Staffers at the New York museum said they were “profoundly moved” by the movement for “racial justice” that emerged following Floyd’s death.

Since then, a number of statues have been removed, including ones depicting former President Abraham Lincoln and Confederate General Robert E. Lee.

A statue of Roosevelt, the nation’s president from 1901 to 1909 and the governor of New York from 1899 to 1900, is still up at the center of the Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Hall, which includes exhibits examining the man’s life.

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