After New York City Council’s Black, Asian and Latino Caucus pushed in October for the removal of a Thomas Jefferson statue in the City Council that’s stood since 1834, it’s been reported that the statue will indeed be taken down and given to the New York Historical Society. The statue will be displayed for six months in the Historical Society’s library before being relocated to the Society’s museum as part of a ten year loan. Members of the City Council have been pushing for the statue’s removal for decades, so the decision is the culmination of a strong succession of efforts.
“From the start, we have seen the opportunity to display the statue as consistent with the ways in which we look at history at our institution,” Louise Mirrer, the president of the Historical Society, told the New York Times in an interview. “Jefferson just has to be one of those figures that really draws attention to the distance between our founding ideals and the reality of our nation.”
“This Administration owes it to the more than five million New Yorkers of color our members – past, present and future – represent, to resolve that the individuals memorialized within the confines of our People’s House be reflective not only of the best traditions of our city’s history and its diversity but unquestionable character,” the Black, Asian and Latino Caucus said in a statement in October.
Some political figures were also of the opinion that the statue, which was commissioned in 1833 and made by the French artist Pierre-Jean David d’Angers, should be destroyed because of the colonialist and racist ideas it represents. Ultimately, however, it’s clear that the city of New York didn’t swing for this option, and instead went for the “retain and explain” method.