A statue of Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th president of the United States, has become the latest casualty of demands to remove historical statues considered racist by protestors. The statue located in front of the entrance to the American Museum of Natural History in New York City will be removed, according to a statement released byMayor Bill de Blasio on Sunday.
The statement added that the measure will taken at the request of the directors of the museum. Museum President Ellen Futter stated that:
“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.”
In additional comments, Futter said that the decision was based on their ‘hierarchical composition’ of the statue and that the decision did not reflect an adverse opinion of the former president himself, who the museum considers ‘a pioneering conservationist’.
The bronze statue has stood at the institution’s Central Park West entrance since 1940, and features Roosevelt on horseback with a Native American man and an African man standing next to the horse. In 2017, it was coated in red paint by protesters, who called for its removal as a symbol of “patriarchy, white supremacy and settler-colonialism.”
According to a report by the New York Times, de Blasio says the city supports the museum’s request, and that “It is the right decision and the right time to remove this problematic statue.”
Theodore Roosevelt, whose face is on Mount Rushmore, served as the governor of New York from 1899 to 1900. In the Spanish-American war he led the ‘Rough Riders’, a volunteer cavalry force, during the US invasion of Cuba, and was considered a national hero upon his return.
As president, he expanded the Navy, began construction of the Panama Canal, and won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1906 for brokering the end of the Russo-Japanese war. By the late 1970s he was repeatedly rated one of the top five best US presidents by the heads of 100 history departments. LINK
The disproportionate emphasis on statues and monuments, both by protestors and the media, claimed another casualty last week when a man was shot in New Mexico as a heavily armed militia group attempted to defend a statue from protestors, officials and media reports said.
Albuquerque city protesters were demanding the removal of a statue of the state’s 16th-century governor, Spanish conquistador Juan de Onate. As they tried to pull down the sculpture, a small group of right-wing militia members tried to protect it and clashes erupted, the Albuquerque Journal reported.
The victim was reported to be in a critical but stable condition. Police were investigating reports “about vigilante groups possibly instigating this violence,” city Police Chief Michael Geier said in a Twitter statement. Images in US media showed police apprehending a number of men, some dressed in camouflage gear with guns.
“The heavily armed individuals who flaunted themselves at the protest, calling themselves a ‘civil guard’, were there for one reason: To menace protesters, to present an unsanctioned show of unregulated force,” said New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham said in a statement posted on Twitter.
“Let me (be) clear: There is absolutely no space in New Mexico for any violent would-be ‘militia’ seeking to terrorize New Mexicans,” she added.
Albuquerque’s Mayor Tim Keller said on Twitter that the statue had been temporarily removed to contain the risk to public safety. LINK
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