About 150 people demonstrated outside the Natural History Museum on Sunday in an effort to save the statue of President Teddy Roosevelt from being removed.
Shouts of “Save Teddy!” and “Save our history!” It came from the crowd protesting the Upper West Side institution’s move to remove Roosevelt’s bronze effigy, which has been on its entrance since 1940.
“This statue is of a proud American. It was perfect? No. No one was perfect … he did a lot for this country, “said Gavin Wax, president of the New York Young Republicans Club, which organized the rally.
“We are here today because we have improved as a society and we continue to improve as a society,” Wax said. “But we can never do that again if we continue to destroy our history and forget our past, and we are doomed to repeat it.”
On Sunday, the protest group held signs saying “DEFEND OUR MONUMENTS” and “I can’t learn from the past if we erase HISTORY!” as speakers heard during the one-hour demonstration.
Teddy Roosevelt believed in an America without scripts. Not white Americans, black Americans, brown Americans. Simply Americans, “said David Marcus, a correspondent for The Federalist and contributor to The Post’s opinion pages, including the decision to topple the statue.
“He believed in a future for this country where we would all live together peacefully, and that is the future I see ahead of me here,” said Marcus.
Counter-protesters organized by a black evangelical group from Georgia installed speakers on the avenue, preaching against the cult of a recorded image, referring to the Roosevelt statue.
Some time later, another group of counter-protesters rallied, brandishing signs saying “Black Lives Matter” and “End glorizing colonialism”.
The disputed monument, which shows the nation’s 26th president on horseback, flanked by an African man and a Native American man, has been criticized for glorifying colonialism and racism. It was smashed with paint in 2017.
The museum, which is privately run but located on public land, recently requested that the statue be moved and the city agreed.
The move came amid nationwide protests over racial inequality and an push to cut public works honoring Confederate leaders.
“In the past few weeks, our museum community has been deeply moved by the growing movement for racial justice that emerged after the murder of George Floyd,” museum president Ellen Futter said in a statement.
“We have observed that the attention of the world and the country has increasingly become statues as powerful and hurtful symbols of systemic racism,” he added. “Simply put, the time has come to move it.”
Both Governor Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio supported the museum’s decision.