Teddy Roosevelt statue, considered racist symbol, to be removed from NYC park

Mayor Bill de Blasio said it was "the right decision and the right time to remove this problematic statue."
A statue of President Theodore Roosevelt on a horse with an Indigenous person walking alongside him on his right and an African on his left side near the entrance to the Museum of Natural History in New York.
A statue of President Theodore Roosevelt on a horse with an Indigenous person walking alongside him on his right and an African on his left side near the entrance to the Museum of Natural History in New York.Mpi43 / mpi43/MediaPunch/MediaPunch/IPx

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By Tim Stelloh

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said Sunday that he supports removing a statue of President Theodore Roosevelt that has long been considered a symbol of racism.

"The American Museum of Natural History has asked to remove the Theodore Roosevelt statue because it explicitly depicts Black and Indigenous people as subjugated and racially inferior," he said in a statement.

De Blasio said it was "the right decision and the right time to remove this problematic statue."

The museum had said removing the 80-year-old bronze statue, which sits in a public park across from the museum and depicts Roosevelt on horseback with Native American and African figures on either side of him, would serve as "a symbol of progress."

"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," the museum said.

It said its request was prompted by the killing of George Floyd on May 25 and the demonstrations protesting racism that have followed.

Protesters across the country have toppled — or tried to topple — statues depicting Confederate leaders, conquistadors and other "hurtful symbols" of racism, the museum said.

President Donald Trump tweeted early Monday that he was against removing the statue.

"Ridiculous, don't do it!" Trump wrote.