Controversial Teddy Roosevelt Statue Will Be Removed

The Teddy Roosevelt statue in front of the Museum of Natural History will be removed, the city said. The decision, in the end, was prompted by a request from the museum itself, according to the New York Times. The statue is on city land.

“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.”

The Roosevelt statue, installed in 1940, has long been controversial because of its depiction of Native American and Black men standing next to the president, who is on horseback. For the past week, police officers have been guarding the statue after a group called Decolonize This Place had threatened to remove it. The statue had also been vandalized with paint. After that incident, the museum did not respond to several requests for comment about whether they believed the vandal should be prosecuted.

The Roosevelt family agreed with the decision.

“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, 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.”

Photo by Wally Gobetz.

NEWS | 146 comments | permalink
    1. Robert says:

      Was intrigued that he considered himself a conservationist and loved animals. But also loved hunting. Could never figure that out.

      • 92nd Street says:

        His appointee as the first Superintendent of Yellowstone Park, AA Anderson, invented the hunting season in order to save animals.

      • Jay says:

        Humans and farming have disrupted normal predator-prey models. Hunting helps restore the balance. Otherwise, deer would overwhelm most ecosystems in the country.

        • Bill Kowalski says:

          @Jay – I have a hard time seeing how Theodore Roosevelt shooting an elephant helped restore the balance. In 1909 on one safari alone TR and his son killed 512 animals, including: 17 lions, 29 zebras, 27 gazelles, 9 black and white monkeys, 8 hippopotami, 2 ostriches and a pelican. The guy was a killing machine.

          • Jay says:

            First of all.. we are talking about the US. Second, none of those species were endangered in the early 1900s.

            Hunting is necessary to balance the impacts humans have had on the environment.

      • jsv says:

        It’s more complicated than that. He believed in hunting only to the extent that it didn’t disturb population numbers. At the time, people weren’t hunting to the extent that they were wiping out species or even impacting them very much so as to disturb local ecosystems. So yes he loved and appreciated nature, but somehow was able to balance that with his love of hunting. It seems odd in this day and age, now that we are seeing hunting so efficient and prevalent that populations are diminished or wiped out, but that wasn’t the case when he was hunting.

        Keep in mind that only recently have we, as a civilization, become so removed from death – death in the sense that we no longer kill our food (such as chickens kept in a coop out in the back yard), human death very often takes place in a hospital or at least not in the home, and so forth.

        • Paul says:

          “At the time, people weren’t hunting to the extent that they were wiping out species or even impacting them very much…”

          Passenger Pidgeons, Dodo birds, all kinds of whales, the American Bison, wolves, among others.
          T.R. wasn’t the problem but your supposition is absurd.

    2. Shirley Frank says:

      Hooray! It’s about time!!!

    3. Spence Halperin says:

      Excellent. About time.

    4. Larry K says:

      Bravo the MNH and Roosevelt family. There is still some reasonableness in the world.

    5. Jake says:

      It is the most beautiful statue in the City, and a monument to the great man Roosevelt was.
      It is not a symbol of subjugation, it shows Teddy as
      a leader, a soldier, a frontiersman moving forward into the future together, that has always been my interpretation and I don’t understand these ‘purity’ people, they always choose the negative slant on everything

      • Sherry Gorelick says:

        You can only consider this statue beautiful if you think that the subjugation of people is beautiful. If you think that racial subordination is beautiful. I have always felt offended when passing this statue. What is “negative” is the white supremacy represented by this statue.

      • Bob says:

        If Teddy, the native American, and the black person were all riding horses it might make more sense to say that he’s leading them and they’re all on the same team — though I’m not 100% sure that really solves the problem, because “white guy leads the native Americans and black people into the future” is still juuuuuust a bit problematic.

        • Alfonse says:

          Or maybe, he is on a horse because he was known for being a rough rider (volunteer calvalry unit) and most people of the time did not ride horses (contrary to the cinematic representation of the time).

          • Bruce Bernstein says:

            Alfonse,

            there were no African American horse riders? you haven’t heard of the Buffalo Soldiers? And there were no Native American horsemen? You have an interesting sense of history.

            Not to mention that the Black man is mostly naked, while TR is fully clothed. Were African-Americans routinely naked in the 1890s -1910s?

            there’s a lot of good things to say about TR. But is it really so hard for people to imagine how hurtful this statue would be to Black person, or a Native American?

            Do you think that TR would have been presented with no clothing?

      • Paul says:

        It’s clearly involved with the idea of primacy over others.

        Replace it with a statue of Teddy, alone.

        • Schvitz UWS says:

          Agree.

          In fairness to TR, he didn’t design the statue.

          He also was the first American president to invite a an African-American to the White House, for dinner-Booker T. Washington.

      • Polly Goldman says:

        I agree with you about the statue- I never saw it as depicting subjugation, but rather recognizing and honoring all people of this country united together. Perhaps I’m naive, or perhaps I just have a positive outlook.

        • Joani says:

          Like Polly, I thought that this was a positive and nonracist depiction. None of us can agree on “anything” anymore! Wonder what the sculptor’s intent was? Any history on that???

          • Big Neighbor says:

            Joani, I liked your question about intent. The Museum has several insights on the artistic context:
            https://www.amnh.org/exhibitions/addressing-the-theodore-roosevelt-statue
            In terms of being positive or negative, I too struggle with reshaping my ordinary way of thinking, to be mature enough to go outside of myself to validate and consider what others see that I missed. That will no doubt expand my personal context in my setting. However, part of my ordinary that I can’t shake is, if this sort of leadership gets out of control, we can find ourselves admiring the faceless ones. No one is perfect. Respect and Faith is a two sided coin. One without the other is like being at Thanksgiving Dinner table where some family members get picked on while the favorites walk on water. It just doesn’t work and the children know it.

            • John E. says:

              Thank you for the link Big Neighbor. James Earle Fraser’s intent was to show the Native American and the African as either gun bearers or guides representing the two continents that he hunted on. It was never meant to demean or dehumanize them.

              Did you ever look at Fraser’s most famous sculpture – End of the Trail? It depicts an exhausted Native American on HORSEBACK depicting the damaging effects of advancing Euro-American settlements on the indigenous population.

              It would be nice if people stop and learn about the origins and sculptors of statues and monuments before tearing them down.

              This great work of art by a renown sculptor is being torn down by cowards influenced by an ignorant mob.

    6. Ken Hittel says:

      Very gracious of TRIV, & also very realistic.

    7. Joey says:

      Sad one of this country’s greatest leaders. He was a war hero, reform commissioner of the NYPD, president of this great country who was responsible for the establishment of the National Parks and building of the Panama Canal. The Museum caved to false political correct pressure. SHAMEFUL

      • Karen L. Bruno says:

        I agree, I mean who voted these people into power? No one!

        • Bob says:

          Who voted the trustees of a private institution into power? The person you’re looking for is Albert Smith Bickmore. If you’d like to give him a piece of your mind, you’ll find him in the Bronx — specifically in Woodlawn, Cypress Plot, Section 47/60. I understand he’s a good listener.

      • Mr. WS says:

        Agreed

      • Marcy Katz says:

        I think ny city has gone nuts…. I agree with JOey. I am a passionate wildlife lover, especially from Africa, and I understand that Teddy was a hunter, but that statue doesn’t reek of racism. The museum will take it down because of the expense of protecting it in these crazy troubled over the top reactive times

    8. Rodger Lodger says:

      What about the Great White Whale inside?

    9. Bob Lamm says:

      In my view, there are both admirable and terrible aspects to Teddy Roosevelt’s presidency and to his life as a public figure. But this doubly racist statue had to go. Excellent decision and admirable for Theodore Roosevelt IV to say so.

    10. Sam says:

      All of these statues should be in museums in their proper context showing the *real* history of America. It’s counterproductive to vandalize or destroy them. They already exist. Use them as a teaching tool.

      • UWSHebrew says:

        This statue will not see the light of day in our lifetime, it will sit in the Indiana Jones Ark of the Covenant storage facility. I’m going to visit it tomorrow to have a final look.

    11. Jeff French Segall says:

      To honor Teddy Roosevelt, if that, indeed, is still the goal of the Museum, then the Directors should commission another statue – one that reflects TR in an historically accurate situation. It is time to gather together historians of that age and the greatest sculptors of our times, to create a new image that inspires our generation to greatness, denigrating to no one and inspirational to everyone.

      • I agree with Jeff; TR was a great man of his time who moved the culture forward.

        Attacking corruption during a thoroughly corrupt age was only one of his accomplishments. The conservation legacy of Theodore Roosevelt is found in the 230 million acres of public lands he helped establish during his presidency.

        Much of that land – 150 millions acres – was set aside as national forests. Roosevelt created the present-day US Forestry Service in 1905, an organization within the Department of Agriculture. The idea was to conserve forests for continued use.

        An adamant proponent of utilizing the country’s resources, Roosevelt wanted to insure the sustainability of those resources.

        Roosevelt was also the first president to create a Federal Bird Reserve, and he would establish 51 of these during his administration.

        These reserves would later become today’s national wildlife refuges, managed by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). Today there is a national wildlife refuge in every state, and North Dakota boasts the most refuges of any state in the country.

        This was a great man whose accomplishments we all enjoy today… maybe the statue is offensive to modern day eyes, so come up with something that truly captures this adventuresome outdoorsman who was not only highly respected but well-loved in his time, that is also inoffensive to modern socially aware sensibilities.

    12. 92nd Street says:

      Get rid of the Statue of Liberty next, she is looking down at us, and that is wrong. Remove it Mayor, its all you are good for.

    13. Anna 'Boo' Carroll says:

      This beautiful statue has been up 80 years and just NOW they discover it might be offensive? Unreal!

      • Bill says:

        They’ve been debating he statute for decades. It didn’t “just now” become controversial.

    14. Native Upper West Sider says:

      Love how the convo has shifted from “decline of UWS” to “yes, that statue was racist & offensive.” The museum should take a step back and LISTEN to POC NYers organizing for change. While this change is just a symbolic one, it’s a meaningful step in the right direction. Maybe AMNH could explore the possibility of building a memorial to the Lenape people who inhabited Manhattan before the Dutch, a celebration & acknowledgement of indigenous peoples history.

    15. Brewer says:

      Wrong to remove this statue. Put a bronze plaque in front listing Pros / Cons. Why are New Yorkers erasing history? It it’s not there then it didn’t happen? Sinister forces at work in City Hall. This is the Mayor’s wife at work as she is head of the Committee to Remove Statues in NYC. Where is tolerance? Where is historical perspective? Next to go, the US Constitution as it was written by White Slave holders.

    16. Lynn says:

      That’s disrespectful to a former President who did mor good than bad.

    17. John E. says:

      Yeah, tell me how this is going to help blacks in the city. Oh what, they’re now going to get better paying jobs, get their kids a better education, better housing because a bunch of statues are being torn down?

      Clueless, gutless and clumsy fixes that will do absolutely nothing for blacks in this city!

    18. Robert says:

      A statue is a thing…and things change. Get over it, let things change. Maybe what comes up next will stand the test of time (probably not – because things change). I guess there could be a Museum of Things That Were Found to Be Distasteful at Some Point, but I’m certain there would be an objection to that. Let’s move forward and get on with it. New art is always a good thing.
      BTW…it’s the American Museum of Natural History, not the Teddy Roosevelt Memorial. Teddy can be honored for his contributions to the museum in many ways, I’m sure. Let’s not forget the Night at the Museum movies. Teddy is portrayed once again as a hero. Teddy’s family knows what A great man he was in his day and the legacy he left, let that stand for itself.

      Maybe one day we’ll find out that books and torches were subjugated and the Statue of Liberty is lifting her hemline and showing a treatment of those things that have historically hindered their ability to advance. But as of today, that sounds ridiculous. It’s hard to imagine that statue as inappropriate because of the content of that statue are symbols that depicts the ideas of knowledge, truth, and enlightenment – a beacon in the darkness. Maybe that’s a better image Than glorifying a man as some demigod that lead the poor and suffering people into a new age. (Which, by the way, hasn’t materialized for folks yet!)

      • Chris says:

        Robert I find MOMA distasteful at best using the same reasoning should they burn all the art in there and only display sensitive art they is anti-offensive to all?

    19. Peter Salwen says:

      “I take the western view of the Indian. I don’t go so far as to think that the only good Indian is the dead Indian, but I believe nine out of every ten are, and I shouldn’t like to inquire too closely into the case of the tenth.” — Theodore Roosevelt, speech, 1886

    20. Evan Bando says:

      It was always a disgraceful statue to have stood for so long. The only thing missing was the leash.

      • Shane Sanderson says:

        TR was literally the first president to invite a black person to the white house for dinner.

        • Bruce Bernstein says:

          Shane,

          That is true, TR was enlightened in his time on relations with Blacks. (Native Americans, not so much, based on quotes above.)

          But that is not what this statue depicts. When Roosevelt had Booker T. Washington as a guest in the White House, Washington didn’t show up naked.

          I am all for a statue of TR. that is not what this is about. Please put yourself in the shoes of an African-American or Native American viewing this statue. is that so hard to do?

      • Johnny says:

        Pretty much the point. There is no leash, no chains, no white supremacy, no subjugation. The Indian and African man look proud, noble and strong. They are not afraid and cowering. Instead, they are WITh Roosevelt, not symbolically “beneath” him. Yes, he’s above on a horse but that was a way for the artist to depict his identity. I see them all as a team together.

    21. UWSHebrew says:

      “The American Museum of Natural History has asked to remove the Theodore Roosevelt statue”. Who has the authority at the museum to do this? Is it one person? Is it a vote of the board of directors? Because I am connected to this field, I know how corrupt things are behind the scenes of most museums on a variety of issues, I would love to know how this was decided and by who(m).

      • Eric says:

        The property and the monument is owned by the City of New York. The museum made the request (they have no power in the matter beyond recommendation) and the city (most likely the mayor’s office) chose to act on it. The situation is similar to the removal of the “Civic Virtue” (name of the monument) that was removed from the grounds next to the Queens Borough Hall. Times and perceptions change. We all grow and change with them hopefully.

    22. Lewis Sternberg says:

      Statues (of historical persons) are depictions of artistic mythological versions of that person. If T.R. Is to be removed from his prominent perch in front of the A.M.N.H. then we ought to consider the removal of ALL statues of historical person. General Sherman on 59th Street made war against civilian targets and Eleanor Roosevelt on 72nd Street was (at least as a younger woman) an anti-Semite. There are no persons with whom fault cannot be found.

      • Evan Bando says:

        It’s the statue itself not Teddy’s resume that is disgraceful. It reeks of white supremacy and subjugation. Given their position next to TR, are the American Indian and the African American pets? Where’s the leash? Or, Lewis Sternberg, would you take their place beside Teddy’s horse? If so, what honor are you enjoying by being there? Can you really not see this statue for what it is?

    23. Alex says:

      What does the city do with the statues removed?
      Do they get destroyed or are they in storage somewhere?

    24. morris shamah says:

      why not rewrite ALL unpleasant history-all of it

    25. NY Native says:

      It’s true that symbols are just symbols, and removing them (or retaining) them does not in itself change history or solve a problem. At the same time, when a symbol stands for real harm done to a group of people, and especially when that harm has a lingering contemporary legacy that we still haven’t completely eradicated, then removing the symbol represents a important modern-day commitment to ending it once and for all. Swastikas, confederate flags, and representations like this one all fall into that category. If you belong to the group that wasn’t harmed, you don’t get to decide that everyone else should just get over it. Excellent and intelligent decision by the Roosevelt relative. Robert E. Lee’s descendant did the same thing when the Lee confederate memorial was taken down in Richmond.

    26. Rob says:

      What’s next? MLK & Gandhi cheated on their wives, VW was created by Hitler, Mercedes funded the gas chambers, Roald Dahl & Henry Ford were anti-semites. IBM supported the holocaust. Elvis, Charlie Chaplin, Chuck Berry,& Schrodinger were pedophiles. Shall we rid ourselves of their memory, their legacies, their technology, and music?

      • Tim says:

        Excellent points. Will the virtue mobs demand removal of anything associated with those people?

        Also, Yale University was founded by a known slave trader. Rename it? Close it? Mob, what say you? Also, maybe the pyramids should be demolished since they were built by slaves? Where does it end??

      • jgreco says:

        You are missing the point

      • Deb says:

        Michaelangelo’s David should be destroyed because David murdered Goliath – should a murderous act be memorialized as a work of art?

    27. federico says:

      for some reason my interpretation was that he was
      together with the young African American and American native
      Moving toward the future together .. I guess I completely miss- understood the piece .. to me that’s what I see, ill miss the great piece and what my interpretation was ..

      • UWSHebrew says:

        Same interpretation I always had. TR is on a horse because of his leading the Rough Riders during the war in Cuba, not because he is above the Native American and black man. You cannot reason with people who see what they want to see, are uneducated, and have no interest in learning about history. All history. We are creeping towards the Mao Chinese revolution, where all of history must be destroyed, and we start anew, with “Year Zero”.

      • Susan says:

        I always thought that Roosevelt was mounted on a horse because he was a Rough Rider and a hero of the Spanish-American War.

      • Susan says:

        And I always thought that Roosevelt was mounted on a horse because he was a Rough Rider and war hero.

      • Barbara Hariton says:

        I see the statue as depicting a man who is marching together with the other figures in a mutual mission, a love of the great outdoors. I am curious as to what the artists intentions were and what the assignment was for the statue. Roosevelt on a horse gives his figure artistic importance, a figure of height and significance and the horse is beautiful. He was an equestrian and he could have just been shown alone a horse but the artist is saying something about his relationship to others which I see as respectful.

        • Marsha says:

          Susan,
          That’s how I saw it, too.
          I just don’t understand how people see injustice in everything. Must be looking for it. As an artist myself, I know most artists seek to uplift in their work. Certainly not to create something negative and derogatory.

    28. Susan says:

      Roosevelt is mounted on a horse because he was a Rough Rider and hero in the Spanish-American War.
      Perhaps each of the three figures could have his own pedestal in re-thinking of this work.

    29. Charles says:

      97 shootings in the city already this month but this is a priority for liberals. Pathetic.

    30. Kat_77 says:

      It’s a sad day indeed that the AMNH fell prey to the likes of Decolonize this Place, the woke mob, and “Duh Blasio” politics. They had the perfect opportunity to let the TR statue remain intact and to use it as an educational sounding board. They could have used the statue to inform others of past mistakes and of how not to repeat those same mistakes. Instead, they chose to erase history. I’m not a fan of Cuomo, but I’ll give him this one. At least he stepped up to the plate and had the balls to preserve the Christopher Columbus statue at Columbus Circle. The board of the AMNH needed to grow a pair and do the same thing. Rather, they chose to lie down and let Decolonize this Place, the mob, and corrupt politics walk all over them. I guess everyone has their price. For the past several years I have contributed annual charitable donations to the AMNH. Those days are forever over for me.

    31. NY Native says:

      Yes, it’s unfortunate that many individuals and companies that still exist today participated in oppressive practices in the past.

      The situation that we are discussing here is not one in which we have done detective work on a historical figure that leads us to condemn past positions. We are discussing the taking down of a present-day, visible, physical representation of those positions.

      Although we do not pretend that we can change the oppressive history that is depicted, we do affirm the progress that we have made since then, and which render their physical representations unacceptable in contemporary society.

    32. Jane says:

      Bravo! And thank you Theodore Roosevelt IV
      What a relief!
      I only wish the Museum had thought to remove the statue decades ago. We all thought of it each time we brought our young children up the steps to the great Museum.
      Good riddance to this embarrassing and offensive statue!

    33. Marcus A. says:

      Whether or not you agree with the removal (I certainly do not), I can at least appreciate that this is how statues should be removed: thoughtfully and with discussion about the rationale, not pulled down by a mob and burned/hung.

      • Tim says:

        100% agree Marcus. That’s the most rational and reasonable response so far. If such an offensive statue should be removed, it should be put to a referendum so the public can have a voice. These virtue-signaling politicians who bow to the screaming mobs shouldn’t be able to wield such power. I know the Roosevelt family is for taking the statue down, but their opinion isn’t absolute, nor is others’. A referendum makes the most sense, for removal of any statue.

      • Elizabeth says:

        Oh like they treated the indigenous people and black folks in America?? No let’s not do that to the statutes. Let’s treat the statues better than we treat each other. Great recommendations!! Keep them coming.

        • John E. says:

          Superficial fix! Tell me how tearing down this statue is going to help blacks in this city? I’m sure out of work blacks are so grateful right now.

          And do you really think the racists living among us will stop and think twice now that Teddy is no longer in front of the Museum of Natural History? Congrats, you just made him a martyr among white supremacists!

    34. CBD Products says:

      I completely agree with the statement that the statues for people who personify precisely some negative actions do not quite fit the city in order to be the center of attention. But I also want to say that in the modern world the statues themselves do not have such a colossal significance for all children. Many are not interested in the origin of this or that statue. But at the same time, from an aesthetic point of view, the statue looks pretty beautiful. And there is still such a moment that you will not please everything.

    35. maryanne says:

      What I know about TR off the top of my head, is that He charged up San Juan Hill… Did he do that in a Ford Bronco? … No it was a bucking Bronco, a horse. The statue depicts a time and a place in History, and is marked to remember “How it used to be.” Open minded people realize that’s how it was…. and learn from that, and apply it to their lives, today. But when you remove the stature, you are saying, what happened then, doesn’t count anymore.

    36. Ava says:

      Ms Futter,
      The “hierarchical “ statue of Teddy Roosevelt is an integral part of our history as New Yorkers and is an exquisite work of art and craftsmanship
      It is a symbolic work designed to highlight the outdoorsman aspect of Roosevelts persona
      Instead of depicting him alone, a handsome man of 2 other races in America are included to convey their importance as integral parts of America.
      part 1

    37. Ava says:

      Part 2
      His life as a naturalist of his times in addition to being the Commander inChief (thus portrayed hierarchically mounted as an illustrious hero).
      The 2 men are not on horseback because THE MUSEUM HONORS ROOSEVELT AND HIS CONTRIBUTION.
      Duh !!
      We enjoy the story of him sparing the baby bear which gave birth to our calling small bears “Teddy”.

      You are acting as an ignorant Maoist iconiclast in succumbing to the hypersensitive PC mob and its a disgrace.

    38. Marina says:

      Very bizarre time to be alive lately, we have everything to be happy and yet, people are turning into each other, get mad at statue and everything that has been achieved in the past, looking on one side of the story or should I say the only side that fit the narrative… it’s very bizarre to watch knowing that everything, past, present and future will have good and bad, it’s just part of humanity, I wish there were more acceptance and gratitude for the incredible lives we have already.

    39. Leon says:

      Perhaps I am naive but my take on this statue was that the two people next to TR were helping him and that he couldn’t have achieved what he did without them – I see it as a sign of multi-cultural teamwork. It’s not like they are on their knees shining TR’s boots or cleaning up the horse’s mess.

      I am all for the removal of statues celebrating defeated confederate generals and the like, but I think we are going a bit to far with some of these.

      • stevieboy says:

        Yup…very naive.:)

        This should have been done years ago.

        • Leon says:

          Please read the rest of the thread. I am clearly not the only one who sees it this way.

          I learned in art history classes that art is subject to interpretation – that is the beauty of it. I can see why those who are upset might see things their way, but my interpretation also makes sense and should be considered. I think we are swinging too far from completely ignoring interpretations such as those that are leading people to want to take the statue down (and I truly respect their being upset about this) to quickly jumping to conclusions. There is no interpretation that a statue of Robert E Lee should go down – I am all for it. But this is more nuanced.

          Based on your comments here, it seems like everyone must align with your interpretation of everything or else you will badger them to death. Hence, the demise of the Democratic party as we once knew it.

    40. Sophie says:

      I’m not sure that some of the folks posting in the comments actually read the full article. The statue wasn’t removed to disappear Roosevelt from history, or even as a statement on his own political history; it was removed because the statue itself is offensive, reductive, paternalistic, and condescending. I mean, even his own great-great grandson (who, by the way, is 77 and a museum trustee) advocates for the removal of the statue because it **dishonors** the memory of Roosevelt! As per the article, he says: “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.”

    41. Len says:

      Theodore Roosevelt was in many ways a remarkable man. The city should commission another statue to honor him and one that promotes equality of all races.

    42. ST says:

      Where did I get the narrative that the statue honored the guides that helped Roosevelt on his Western journeys? That is how I always saw it. Honoring not subjugation. Roosevelt on horseback only to signify that he had been President of the US. What I do clearly recall is that one of those journeys helped him overcome a deep depression. I loathe this cancel-culture writing the good a President accomplished out of history.

    43. richard says:

      Once the statues are down, let’s go after the presidential libraries and burn all the books! Yea, George Orwell for giving us the model to follow.

    44. Nasrin says:

      Look, I’m not going to say that statue wasn’t problematic (sure the native people look noble and are walking, which was hugely race forward for 1940, but it’s still clear that Teddy is above them), but if AMNH is going down that road, they’d have to lose half their collection.

    45. Jane says:

      I’m all for removing the statue as a symbolic act. But it is just that and very little else. It also pisses people off, but what’s new? It doesn’t change any of the real issues that are happening now. Looking back at our history though is an active process. The whole Museum, in a way, seems to me an embodiment of Theodore Roosevelt and the era that he himself embodied, with with its dated dioramas, its elitist lodge sensibility, the inscriptions on the walls of the entrance hall, etc and those who worry about his legacy being destroyed don’t have to. Just the statue in front.

    46. VERONICA says:

      If it has taken the AMNH all these years to acknowledge their error, that they are a racist and cowardly institution, I will in political correctness no longer support this institution. Bye Bye AMNH. It was nice knowing you,

      • JerryV says:

        Veronica says, “If it has taken the AMNH all these years to acknowledge their error, that they are a racist and cowardly institution, I will in political correctness no longer support this institution.” Thank you Veronica. Maybe it will be a bit less crowded with you not going. Now if we could only do something about the vast crowd of tourists…..

    47. Dorian says:

      Love him. Hated the statue. Hoping for the same president erected without the poor concept of the designers.

    48. Jerry says:

      When my young daughter asked about the people in the statue and what they were doing it was a teaching moment but one I was not proud of. I’m glad the statue is going, hopefully to a place with the historical context it deserves and where people can choose to see it – not to a public space where by itself it also only stands for accepted racism.

    49. Susan says:

      In order to strike a balance and to be fair to all, why not remove the name of Malcolm X Boulevard. If asked, he would proudly describe himself as a racist.

      • Native Upper West Sider says:

        Hi Susan/Karen – POC can’t be racist against white people. Racism is structural.

        If a person of color, were to be prejudice against a white person it would likely have no broader systemic impact on the white person’s power (the white person would not lose income, face policing, be denied a job or access to education). If a white person were to do the reverse to a POC-it would likely have a larger structural implication (inhibit a POC from getting a job, accessing education, or criminalize them via police, etc).

        This Malcolm X analogy is problematic and honestly, racist. Malcolm X was a black segregationist not a racist. Please be mindful of your statements and the racist implications (i.e. directing your anger at a decision erasing white supremacist imagery by suggesting the city should erase a symbol of black power in a historically black community of Harlem).

        I ask that you and all the other commentators on this thread to step back and consider why you’re so angry about this decision. Is it really because of a statue? Or is it because a change like this reflects a broader societal shift in power? A shift in power in which your white supremacy, class privilege, and social hierarchy is being problematized and called into question. The anger on this page is about so much more than a statue. That much is evident.

        • Stu says:

          I’d say he was indeed racist (if we follow the current definitions being thrown about). If you’ve read the writings and speech transcripts of X and his mentor Elijah Muhhamad, you would agree. Anti-semetic to the nth degree – believed Jews, as a people, were the lowest of the low. Pretty racist if you asked me.

        • Elizabeth says:

          To Native Upper West Sider-
          My opposition to removing the statue has nothing to do with white supremacy, class privilege, etc. I see it as a tribute to a man who did a lot for our country with 2 other men who I see as looking strong & proud. Have you looked at their faces? They’re beautiful, uplifted. TR is on a horse because that was part of his identity. Why see subjugation? I see none of this negativity that others complain about.
          If you look to be offended you always will be.
          I see it as beautiful sculpture & I hate to see art destroyed.

    50. Will says:

      They’re doing this to distract from the fact that their collection, like most of the museums in this city, are made up of artifacts plundered from countries around the world during times of colonialism. If you think we’re going to stop at the front door because you took one statue down to placate us, you’re deceiving yourself.

    51. LK says:

      Below is how wikipedia described the context and the purpose of the monument. Of course, we can interpret everything differently – that’s our right. For example, some women might get offended by a man holding the door open. They can politely decline, but if one starts cursing at a man holding the door or physically abusing him, it should not be socially acceptable. What happens here is that an intolerant and militant part of the society is running the show and the rest are forced to live with the consequences. It’s not acceptable and we should stand up to this threat.

      “The sculpture was commissioned by the Roosevelt Memorial Association in the 1930s after Fraser had delivered his design for the Arts of Peace memorial in Washington D.C., which at the time was also in competition with this memorial as the chosen location. For Arts of Peace, Fraser made a pair of statues of Pegasus depicting the themes Music and Harvest, and Aspiration and Literature. This equestrian monument should therefore be seen in that context, with Roosevelt mounted on Pegasus, though in fact he is “in the garb of a hunter accompanied by two pedestrian guides representing America and Africa”.[3]”

    52. It’s only right says:

      We must push to stop all performances of the play ‘Hamilton’ . Alexander Hamilton was a buyer, seller and owner of slaves. This praise of a slave owner must be stopped.

      • MAD says:

        Right you are. Next, let’s tear down all the statues of Jefferson (even though he wrote you-know-what) and let’s burn down Monticello and Mount Vernon and change everything named after Jefferson and Washington. How ’bout that? Oh, wait, that wouldn’t make the mob happy; there’s always something else.

        • Leon says:

          So are we going to go back and rename the show The Jefferson’s? Who will be moving on up to the east side? Inquiring minds want to know!

    53. poc-uwsider says:

      BRAVO. Columbus should be next!

    54. Sally Campbell says:

      Sorry we can’t keep the horse. It did no harm!

    55. Dan says:

      Every record has been destroyed or falsified, every book rewritten, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street building has been renamed, every date has been altered. And the process is continuing day by day and minute by minute. History has stopped. Nothing exists except an endless present in which the Party is always right.
      George Orwell, 1984

    56. UWS Craig says:

      I would like to see the statue replaced with one of Teddy Roosevelt standing side by side with Barack Obama (Kenyan decent) and former Vice President Charles Curtis (Native American). This will show the important contribution – – on an equal basis – – of people of African and Native American ancestry to our society. We should also consider renaming Columbus Avenue 9th Avenue for its full length.

    57. mercer says:

      how can a statue be racist…yall wore that word out..everything is racist now,so nothing is. SMH get over yourself
      for gods sake

    58. JerryV says:

      I think it striking that none of the “expert” commentators (not a SINGLE soul here) seems to have even looked at this statue in recent years. There are explanatory plaques on the statue acknowledging some of the more offensive components of the statue, brings them up to date and correcting them. I have seen that as a valuable teaching moment to better understand why 21st century values should not always be applied to 19th century visions of things. By the way, similar new explanations and corrections have been applied to the inside Diorama depicting the supposed sale of Manhattan by the Leni Lenape to the Dutch colonists. It is better to look at something that attempts to modernize and teach a history lesson than to ignore the corrections and scream that the exhibit must be removed because art offends them. Next stop: Washington Monument and Jefferson Memorial that honor 18th century slave holders.

    59. Carol M says:

      I get that there are two sides to the Teddy Roosevelt issue. The statue I can’t bear is Christopher Columbus. He captured Native Americans and sold them into slavery in Europe. I fail to understand how people tolerate this memorial.

    60. mercer says:

      so tell me …when do they start removing any trace of SMOKEY THE BEAR ? cuz we all know that story was a lie…mite as well do away with SANTA while you are at it

    61. mercer says:

      the saddest part of this ….once the statues are gone ,what do we have left to gauge our success or failure on. we cant ever change what were,bad or good,but we can learn from it…some folks just incapable of learning…i call them lazy

    62. jimbo says:

      How about just leaving Teddy on the horse????

    63. Jerry says:

      You are all so right Oh, wait, so righteous

    64. UWSSR says:

      LOL, WSRagger’s are MORE upset and concerned about a statue being torn down than actually preserving the socio economic integrity of the neighborhood by whining about the fierce effort to block gerrymandered air right buildings a la 200 Amsterdam. The priorities of this neighborhood never cease to amaze me! “Let’s fight for a statue that does nothing for us because its such an important part of the city, but oh yeah, please build an illegal building funded by a foreign country in my neighborhood that will have countless floors sit empty while the money used to purchase them gets squeaky clean and raises housing prices for me and everyone around me, artificially! The skyline is always changing, HAH!

      • Samuel says:

        Actually, the UWS tried very hard to stop that building!.
        But the wealthy developers that pour big $$ into political campaigns always win. That building even built over the ridiculous new height limit they were granted. Judge ruled they had to stop & remove the extra flors. They kept on building! Someone very powerful has their back. More than the UWS can fight. Yes, it’s an outrageous eyesore. Very sad for our neighborhood.

    65. JerryV says:

      Some of the commenters here offend me. Can we get them removed?

    66. Stu says:

      If the MoNH agrees with the pressure, I will be disappointed with their lack of backbone. They have explained the statute for decades, even correcting certain information. But they have been steadfast to explain the statute as a narrative of history and Teddy’s leadership and progression regarding conservation and naturalism. He’s on a horse because, like all leaders, he led. The Native American and African men represent the native people in the Americas and Africa, the two lands in which he led naturalist expeditions. They stand together as a group towards the same goal. But, for gods sake, the statute celebrates him; and as a leader and President, he led. On a horse.

    67. James Kellogg says:

      The statue should remain where it is.

      I grew up in Manhattan and saw the statue from my earliest childhood. I always thought it was beautiful and impressive and identified it with the museum. Should we remove every statue because the person that it depicts was flawed? Then there would be no statues anywhere. Should we destroy Mount Rushmore? Washington and Jefferson owned slaves, Roosevelt said negative things about Native Americans and Lincoln said many racist things. Thus we should destroy Mount Rushmore and every statue of these great Americans. Where does this stupidity end?

      • Bruce E. Bernstein says:

        James Kellogg,

        With all due respect, you don’t understand why this statue has been removed, and why TR’s descendants are supportive of doing so.

        The issue is not TR. The issue is the derogatory, racist portrayal of the two other people depicted in the statue, a Native American and a Black (presumably American).

        Their portrayal is a blatantly racist caricature. It’s not even very debatable, if you have any awareness of racist iconography.

        it’s extremely troubling that so many commenters above are impervious to this. it says a lot about the work that has to be done in raising consciousness about racism, including on the UWS.

      • UWSHebrew says:

        It will never stop. This is part of a Marxist plan to change America so a Socialist-Communist utopia.

    68. Alex says:

      remove Washington,Columbus and the rest of “problematic” statues and all you’re left with is the pathetic DiBlasio platitudes

    69. Marsha says:

      Honestly. I think the American Indian and the African American man look proud. To me, they do not look weak. They have beautiful, strong faces. They are not hunched over or in ropes or chains. Why do do people see everything as derogatory? Of course, Roosevelt is above. He’s the President. It doesn’t mean the other 2 men are subjugated.
      Relax people. Everyone doesn’t have to be offended by everything.

      • UWSHebrew says:

        Marsha, Teddy is on a horse because he was famous for riding one during the Spanish-American War as part of the “Rough Riders”. The statue is not racist in the least. Teddy was friends with Booker T. Washington and was the first POTUS to invite a black man to the White House. This is a real tragedy to have the beautiful work of art removed because of the mob.

        • Marsha says:

          To UWS Hebrew-
          I never said he was a racist. Yes, I know he was one of the Rough Riders. I’m very aware of who Teddy Roosevelt was.
          Maybe you misunderstood my comment. I’m defending the statue & in favor of keeping it. Please read more carefully

      • UWSHebrew says:

        It’s too late. It’s over. Ellen Futter, president of the museum, DECIDED ON HER OWN to have the statue removed. One person that nobody ever heard of made a decision for every person in this country who loves that beautiful statue. Beyond pathetic. For as long as I live, I will not support this museum.

      • Craig says:

        I see both sides of this discussion. I am glad we live in a country where we can have this discussion and are finally addressing racial injustice. Someone commented that both the Native American and the Black Man had strong faces and looked proud. I agree with that about the Native American. But I strongly disagree about that with the Black Man. To me he looks very subjugated both in expression and in clothing (or lack thereof). It is time for the statue to go into a museum and not promote one leader subjugating another by being in a place of high prominence. But can someone please explain to me the logic behind the destruction of Hans Christian Heg statue and the ‘Forward’ statue in Madison, WI. I think when the protests become violent and destructive they are counterproductive and actual help conservatives win re-election on a law & order platform.

        • MaryBeth says:

          I’ve never liked one thing about Trump in my life. Until now. His stance on the destruction of these statues is right. It’s gotten out of hand and needs to stop immediately. They’re offended? I’m offended by this destruction and erasure of our history.
          So, yes, Craig, you’re right. If this destruction keeps up, I will vote Republican for the first time in my very Democratic life. I’m fed up with these mealy mouth Democratic mayors & governors

          • Bruce E. Bernstein says:

            MAry Beth,

            Seriously? You are voting for Trump because he wants to preserve statues of Confederate generals, and keep military bases named after Confederates? Since when is the Confederacy “our history”?

            I keep saying this but I’ll say it one more time: this statue is not being removed because it’s TR. it is being removed because of racist, demeaning portrayals of Native AMericans and Africans/African-Americans. It is a well crafted work of art and should not be destroyed, display it in a museum somewhere, with explanatory material. But i think it’s pretty easy to understand why AMNH doesn’t want this at the main entrance.

            • MaryBeth says:

              Sorry, but I don’t find the statue racist or demeaning. As others have said, the 2 men alongside TR look noble and proud. They are with him. Why interpret it as subjugation and racism? I never said the removal was against TR himself. It’s a beautiful sculpture that should be outside the Museum. I just read a review on google by an American Indian woman who is upset by the removal. She is proud of the statue and feels it’s removal is just another removal of American Indians from our culture.

              I’ve said nothing about keeping Confederate statues. But I believe in honoring those (like TR) who did great things for America.
              Robert Johnson, of BET, was on tv earlier today. He thinks these statue removals are ridiculous. Said it does nothing for black lives. He said black people are laughing at this nonsense by white people who think they are helping. His words, not mine.
              I am very fed up with senseless Counter Culture destruction. Destruction is NOT progress.

    70. Robert N says:

      Can also email President of Natural History Museum – Ellen V. Futter to save the statue. Can’t hurt to try. Beats complaining.
      futter@amnh.org

    71. Roger says:

      It’s supposed to be removed Sunday.
      If you care, please flood the Mayor bdeblasio@cityhall.nyc.gov and Ms Futter futter@AMNH.org with emails.
      And sign the change.org petition.
      https://www.change.org/p/mayor-bill-de-blasio-save-president-theodore-roosevelt-statue-museum-of-natural-history?pt=AVBldGl0aW9uALcLXwEAAAAAXvC6cy8b6LFiYjkzMjMyNw%3D%3D&source_location=topic_page

      The Thomas Jefferson statue at City Hall is next for removal.

      • Louis says:

        Great! Just signed change.org petition & emailed Futter & de Blasio. Heard the Sunday removal date is not definite, yet. Not sure.

        • Roger says:

          Supposedly this Sunday about noon for removal. Saw on facebook that a rally to save it (or protest removal) is planned in front of statue at that time.

      • Fryolator says:

        Oh say can you see
        Next to Central Park West
        What so proudly they hailed
        Back in last century’s Twenties?

        A Rough Rider and friends
        Stood for 95 years.
        They were woke in their time
        Just like you at this moment.

        And the bullhorns’ loud blare
        Hippies screaming out there
        Gave proof through the day
        That TR was still there.

        Oh say does that once-beloved statue yet stand?
        I guess it’s gotta go, but tell me what will stay.