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Roosevelt Statue Coming Down, and His Family Agrees

Shows Teddy Roosevelt with Native American and an African man outside NYC museum
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 22, 2020 6:20 AM CDT
Updated Jun 22, 2020 6:50 AM CDT

(Newser) – A long-standing statue of Teddy Roosevelt outside the American Museum of Natural History in New York City is coming down. This time, it's because the museum itself made the request of the city, reports the New York Times. The bronze statue, in place since 1940, depicts Roosevelt on horseback, with a Native American standing on one side of him and an African man on the other. The museum requested the move because the statue "explicitly depicts Black and Indigenous people as subjugated and racially inferior," says Mayor Bill de Blasio in a statement, per ABC7. The city agreed, though there's no word yet on when it will come down. Museum officials stressed that they still celebrate Roosevelt himself as a conservationist—their problem is with the statue. Roosevelt's family agrees.

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“The world does not need statues, relics of another age, that reflect neither the values of the person they intend to honor nor the values of equality and justice,” says Theodore Roosevelt IV, a great-grandson of the 26th president and a museum trustee. The statue "does not reflect Theodore Roosevelt’s legacy," he adds. "It is time to move the statue and move forward.” The statue has been the target of protests and vandalism in recent years, and a museum press release notes that it "communicates a racial hierarchy that the museum and members of the public have long found disturbing." In the George Floyd protests, statues of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, along with Confederate leaders, have been pulled down. And in New Jersey, Monmouth University is removing Woodrow Wilson's name from its Great Hall, reports CNN. (Read more Teddy Roosevelt stories.)

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