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A bronze statue of Theodore Roosevelt that has been at the entrance of the American Museum of Natural History in New York City since 1940 will be removed.
The "Equestrian" statue depicts Roosevelt on horseback, with an African man on one side and a Native American man on the other. The museum approached the city — which owns the building and property — to discuss removing the statue "because it explicitly depicts black and indigenous people as subjugated and racially inferior," Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a statement on Sunday. "The city supports the museum's request. It is the right decision and the right time to remove this problematic statue."
Activists have been calling on the museum to remove the statue for several years, and there has been a renewed interest in the wake of the George Floyd protests. Officials told The New York Times they are not sure when the statue will be taken down, where it will go, or if it will be replaced. In honor of Roosevelt's commitment to conservation, the museum will rename its Hall of Biodiversity after him.
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Roosevelt's father was a founding member of the museum, and his great-grandson Theodore Roosevelt IV is now on its board of trustees. In a statement, he said 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. The composition of the 'Equestrian' statue does not reflect Theodore Roosevelt's legacy. It is time to move the statue and move forward."
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