New York City’s Public Design Commission has decided to remove a nearly two-hundred-year-old statue of Founding Father Thomas Jefferson from NYC’s City Hall on Monday by a unanimous vote.
Local ABC affiliate reported, “The statue, which dates back to 1833, was expected to go on ‘long term loan’ to the New-York Historical Society by the end of the year, where it would be included in educational exhibits with the proper historical context that likely will include discussion of Jefferson’s slave ownership.”
People have been pushing for the Founding Father and primary author of the Declaration of Independence removal from the City Council chambers in City Hall since June of 2020. Due to discussions over cost, a new destination has not yet been determined for the statue.
“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 city’s council’s Black, Latino, and Asian Caucus said in a statement.
One New York assemblyman, who first attempted to remove the statue of the nation’s third president from the chamber back in 2001, called Jefferson a “slaveholding pedophile.”
“How the hell can people see as a hero someone who had hundreds of enslaved Africans, someone who was a racist and who said we were inferior and someone who was a slaveholding pedophile?” Charles Barron said according to The New York Times. “For him to be canonized in a statue is incredible — incredibly racist.”
Many are upset with the decision to remove the historic statue, which has been in the city chambers for 188 years.
“Do we suddenly wipe out the images, the markings, the names of all those great patriots because they were slaveholders and slave holding was quite common at that time?” NYC Mayoral candidate Curtis Sliwa said.
As previously reported by The Daily Wire, members of the city’s Public Design Commission are all appointed by the mayor. A spokesman for the mayor said that the city would still have jurisdiction over the statue but that they would work to “provide valuable historical context.”
“The city would still own the plaster model, and the historical society would include it in educational exhibits and provide valuable historical context,” the spokesman said.
Before the vote, Republican City council member Joe Borelli accused Mayor Bill de Blasio of waging a “progressive war on history.”
“The de Blasio administration will continue the progressive war on history as he, himself, fades away into a portrait on a City Hall wall,” the Staten Island member told the New York Post.
Originally, the statue was commissioned to celebrate Jefferson’s promotion of religious liberty in 1833 by Jewish Navy commodore Uriah P. Levy.
“I consider Thomas Jefferson to be one of the greatest men in history,” Levy once said, “the author of the Declaration and an absolute democrat. He serves as an inspiration to millions of Americans.”
Earlier this year, New York’s Public Design also voted to remove a statue of Spanish-American war hero, explorer, and president Theodore Roosevelt from outside of the American Museum of Natural History.