New York City

Museum of Natural History to Take Down Theodore Roosevelt Statue

"It is the right decision and the right time to remove this problematic statue," Mayor de Blasio said

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A statue of Theodore Roosevelt positioned on the front steps of the American Museum of Natural History is coming down, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio confirmed Sunday evening, saying the museum made the request.

The bronze statue that has stood at the museum's Central Park West entrance since 1940 depicts Roosevelt on horseback with a Native American man and an African man standing next to the horse.

“As we strive to advance our institution’s, our City’s, and our country’s passionate quest for racial justice, we believe that removing the Statue will be a symbol of progress and of our commitment to build and sustain an inclusive and equitable Museum community and broader society," President of the American Museum of Natural History Ellen Futter said in a statement.

It is not yet clear when the statue will come down or where it will go. The decision to remove the statue from the front steps of the museum was first reported by The New York Times.

In 2017, protesters splashed red liquid on the statue's base to represent blood and published a statement calling for its removal as an emblem of “patriarchy, white supremacy and settler-colonialism.”

The mayor said the city supports the museum's request and that "It is the right decision and the right time to remove this problematic statue."

Countless statues have been removed or damaged in the past couple weeks amid nationwide protests. New York City Council members wrote a letter Thursday to de Blasio demanding a Thomas Jefferson statue be removed from City Hall.

De Blasio did not provide a direct answer to the council's letter on Friday, but said a newly formed Racial Justice and Reconciliation Commission would be tasked with examining the Jefferson statue. The City and Commission will identify areas where discrimination continues to manifest; in housing, criminal justice, environmental justice, education and place-based disparities.

As there are more calls nationwide to do away with statues of people with ties to slavery or racism, some City COuncil members are calling for a statue of President Thomas Jefferson to be removed from chambers in City Hall. NBC New York's Melissa Russo reports.

President Donald Trump tweeted criticism of the move overnight.

Copyright NBC New York/Associated Press
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