Teddy Roosevelt statue should be melted down: petition

The ‘cancelled’ statue of Theodore Roosevelt that was transported in the middle of the night from the steps of the American Museum of Natural History should be sent for scrap rather than a presidential library in North Dakota, according to a group of scholars and experts. awakened artists.

The bronze depiction of the Rough Rider on horseback flanked by an African and a Native American, which has been decried as colonialist and racist, is set to go to a planned Theodore Roosevelt presidential library in Medora, ND It was removed in January and is currently in storage in New York.

“New Yorkers can’t just dump their toxic cultural products into other communities,” according to an online petition launched by the academics last month. “The city should refuse to transfer its unwanted waste elsewhere. In this case, the bronze content of the monument could be melted down or recycled for a better purpose or simply disposed of.

The petition had attracted more than 275 signatures since it was posted on Tumblr last month. It was started by members of Decolonize This Place, a left-wing activist group that lobbied for the statue’s removal.

Workers remove the statue on January 20.
CAITLIN OCH

New York’s Public Design Commission voted in June to remove the famous “equestrian statue,” which had stood at the Upper West Side museum since 1940.

The Roosevelt Library loan agreement was made in November. The organization said it sees its exhibit as a “tool to study the nation’s past”.

Theodore Roosevelt V, a descendant of Roosevelt, called the statue “problematic” but said he didn’t want it misused.

Workers preparing the statue for removal.
Workers preparing the statue for removal.
Robert Miller

“Rather than bury a disturbing work of art, we should learn from it,” he said in November.

The library is to be located near Theodore Roosevelt National Park, which includes land that once belonged to the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara nations. Roosevelt owned a ranch in the area.

“I’m not a big fan of Theodore Roosevelt. He made some really derogatory remarks about Native Americans,” MHA Nation president Mark Fox said in November.

Signage on the removal of the statue outside the museum.
Signage on the removal of the statue outside the museum.
Robert Miller

Andrew Ross, professor of American studies at New York University and organizer of the petition, said the transfer decision was not transparent and Native Americans in North Dakota were not consulted.

“There are actors here. It’s not just city officials who really should have a say,” Ross said.

Gavin Wax, president of the New York Young Republicans Club, called the petition campaign “crazy.”

The statue is scheduled to go to North Dakota.
The statue is scheduled to go to North Dakota.
Anthony Behar

“It’s still a beautiful work of art. It’s a monumental statue and it’s part of New York City history, American history,” Wax said. “The fact that they’re now trying to tear it down is so callous and almost barbaric, really. It’s just modern day iconoclasm.

A representative from the Roosevelt Library would not comment on the petition.

“The Public Design Commission has approved the loan of the statue to Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library, with the understanding that the library will establish an advisory board comprised of representatives from tribal and black indigenous communities, historians, scholars and artists to guide the reconsideration of the statue,” City Hall spokesman Charles Lutvak said.

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