On Sunday, June 28, protesters gathered in front of the Museum of Natural History in New York City to challenge the removal of the Theodore Roosevelt statue. The protesters pushed back against the announcement of the removal and the recent destruction of statues across the nation.
Around 150 people joined to protest. The event was organized by David Marcus from The Federalist, Young America’s for Freedom, and the New York Young Republicans.
The Museum of Natural History asked the City of New York to take down the statue because, in their view, it “explicitly depicts Black and Indigenous people as subjugated and racially inferior.”
Attendees of the protest held signs saying, “Defend our Monuments,” “Those who condemn the past are doomed to repeat it,” and “Save Teddy, Protect American History.”
One of the event organizers, Gavin Wax, spoke about the cause: “We are here today because we have bettered ourselves as a society, and we continue to better ourselves as a society, but we will never be able to do that anymore if we keep tearing down our history and forgetting the past. Then we will be doomed to repeat it.”
He also defended the statue. “He is on a horse,” he said. “He is an equestrian. He is the focus of the statue.... You got two people flanking him standing tall and proud. They are not subservient. They are not kneeling. They are walking.”
Another activist from Brooklyn named Chris Wright, a black man, spoke about Roosevelt’s impact on black history.
“This man was a big part of black history and American history in this country, and now we’re here to tear down his statue without knowing why,” said Wright. “Just because the Left wants to push a BS narrative.”
The statue was unveiled in 1940 to celebrate Roosevelt who was a proud naturalist and whose father helped found the Museum of Natural History. In a statement, the museum said the statue communicates racial hierarchy.
The statue’s architect, John Russell Pope, referred to the trio as a “heroic group.”
In 1940, the sculptor of the statue, James Earle Fraser, said, “The two figures at [Roosevelt’s] side are guides symbolizing the continents of Africa and America, and if you choose may stand for Roosevelt’s friendliness to all races.”