New York

Upstate Town Clamors for Controversial Statue Removed From NY Capital

Lawmakers have called the decision to remove the statue from Albany "short-sighted"

statue of Philip Schuyler
Henry Bellagnome

A statue being removed from New York’s capital city of slave-owning Revolutionary War general Philip Schuyler could end up on display in a town bearing his name.

Schuylerville’s mayor is lobbying to take possession of the 9½-foot (3-meter) bronze statue after Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan signed an executive order Thursday to remove it.

Schuyler, who led the Continental Army to victory at the pivotal Battle of Saratoga and later served in the U.S. Senate, is the latest historic figure to face new scrutiny amid protests over racism in policing and wider society in the wake of George Floyd’s killing by police.

Sheehan’s order said the public display “ignored a grim aspect of his life.” She has not given a time frame for the removal of the statue outside Albany’s City Hall, but her order says it should be moved to a museum or other institution where it can be displayed with proper historical context.

Schuylerville Mayor Dan Carpenter said his community has deep ties to Schuyler and that a plan to display the statue at historic Schuyler House or the Saratoga Battlefield does not mean it condones slave ownership. Schuylerville is about 30 miles (50 kilometers) north of Albany.

U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik, a Republican who lives in Schuylerville, echoed Carpenter’s calls to move the statue to the community. She criticized Sheehan’s decision to take down the statute as “short-sighted.”

Carpenter told the Post-Star he wants to have a community forum, so residents can have a say in what happens to the statue.

Schuyler’s statue went up in Albany in 1925. Schuyler owned more than a dozen slaves in the 1790s. New York did not outlaw slavery until several decades later.

Statues of other controversial figures — such as Confederate leaders Jefferson Davis and Robert E. Lee — have come down in recent days around the U.S.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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