Protests of Roosevelt Statue Outside Natural History Museum Continues

Jun 29, 2020

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio backs a decision to remove the statue of Theodore Roosevelt in front of the American Museum of Natural History in New York. Visitors look at a statue which includes a man in a Native American headdress.
Credit Mary Altaffer/AP via NPR

   The Museum of Natural History has already said it will remove the statue of Teddy Roosevelt from its entrance, but protests continued this weekend on both sides of the issue. Mabel Wilson, a professor at Columbia who was on the city commission to reconsider the statue, said she has long held the belief that it should be removed.

“There are some very problematic, racist, eugenicist concepts held by Roosevelt and certainly promoted by the institution,” she said, “and that statue is in part symbolic of that.”

She pointed out that historical perspectives can change, but she said her views about the statue have not, going back many years to when she lived near the Museum and always used to jog by it. She says she always found it offensive.

“If it wasn’t a racist depiction you would certainly have a Native American also on a horse and you would have an African on a horse at the same level and in stride with Roosevelt,” she said, “but you don’t. They’re walking behind Roosevelt.”

The statue belongs to New York City and sits on city property.

The museum has made a video, Wilson said, to raise awareness about the debate.