Anyone who visited the American Museum of Natural History—at least from 1940 to January 2022—found on the façade an imposing and emblematic bronze statue of the 26th U.S. President, Theodore Roosevelt. The monument, commissioned in 1925 by artist James Earle, showed Roosevelt on a horse flanked by a black man and a Native American. Now, “because of racism,” the statue was finally removed, following a decision made in June 2020 by the museum amid riots following the assassination of George Floyd.
This is the latest victim of the movement that seeks to cancel history in the United States, the cancelation of American and foreign heroes, and the demolition of statues, are increasingly common in the country. In this case, the monument in honor of Roosevelt was considered by progressive groups as a glorification of colonialism and racism, so the decision was made to remove it.
The museum’s decision to remove the statue was accepted at the time by the City of New York, which had the final say in the matter. “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,” former New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a June 2020 statement. “The City supports the Museum’s request. It is the right decision and the right time to remove this problematic statue.”
According to the New York Post, a year and a half after the removal decision, the Theodore Roosevelt statue was quietly removed with a crane just after midnight on January 20. The process cost $2 million and the monument “will be sent to a library in North Dakota on a long-term loan,” the New York tabloid reported.
Theodore Roosevelt statue defended on social networks
In the wake of the statue’s removal, hundreds of users on Twitter proceeded to criticize the museum’s controversial decision.
“NYC’s famous Roosevelt statue removed in the middle of the night. A progressive President and icon of American power, now cancelled. Don’t let them tell you all this is just about slave traders,” wrote one of the many critical users.
“This cultural destruction is an absolute disgrace,” wrote Nile Gardiner, director of Heritage’s Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom.
“Man this doesn’t end anywhere good,” said comedian Tim Dillon.
“National suicide,” criticized another user.