Since 1940, a statue of President Theodore Roosevelt on a horse flanked by a Native American man and an African man on foot has stood outside New York City's American Museum of Natural History. After years of protests against the statue's composition, the museum has now decided to remove it. This decision follows a special exhibition last year, titled "Addressing the Statue," about the disturbing monument and its historical context. (See exhibition video below.) From the New York Times:
"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," Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a statement. "The City supports the Museum's request. It is the right decision and the right time to remove this problematic statue." […]
A Roosevelt family member released a statement approving the removal.
"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," said Theodore Roosevelt IV, age 77, a great-grandson of the 26th president and a museum trustee. "The composition of the Equestrian Statue does not reflect Theodore Roosevelt's legacy. It is time to move the statue and move forward." […]
Critics, though, have pointed to President Roosevelt's opinions about racial hierarchy, his support of eugenics theories and his pivotal role in the Spanish-American War. Some see Roosevelt as an imperialist who led fighting in the Caribbean that ultimately resulted in American expansion into colonies there and in the Pacific including Puerto Rico, Hawaii, Guam, Cuba and the Philippines.
A nationalist, Roosevelt, in his later years became overtly racist, historians say, endorsing sterilization of the poor and the intellectually disabled.