New York City Removes Jefferson Statue From City Hall

By: George William

From the New York Post: Art handlers packed up an 884-pound statue of Jefferson in a wooden crate Monday after a mayoral commission voted to banish the likeness of the nation’s third president from City Hall, where it’s resided for nearly two centuries

The 1833 statue will be on a long-term loan to the New York Historical Society, which plans to have Jefferson’s model survive in its lobby and reading room.

Keri Butler, executive director of the Public Design Commission that voted to banish the statue, at first tried to block the press from witnessing its removal. Butler relented after members of the mayor’s office and City Council intervened.

“Removing a monument without a public conversation about why it’s happening is useless. New Yorkers all need to talk about who we want to honor and why,” said Erin Thompson, a professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice who authored the forthcoming book “Smashing Statues: The Rise and Fall of America’s Public Monuments.”

“Moving this statue doesn’t mean New Yorkers will forget who Thomas Jefferson was — but some of them might learn from the controversy that the man who wrote ‘all men are created equal’ owned over 600 of his fellow humans,” Thompson said.

Minority leader Joe Borelli (Staten Island) called the move an attempt to “sideline history” while Black, Latino and Asian Caucus co-chair I. Daneek Miller (Queens) said he wanted the statue gone because it doesn’t represent contemporary values.

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