Thomas Jefferson statue to be removed from New York City Council chamber | Inquirer News
Close  

Thomas Jefferson statue to be removed from New York City Council chamber

/ 09:03 AM October 20, 2021
A statue of former U.S. President Thomas Jefferson is pictured in the council chambers in City Hall after a vote to have it removed in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, U.S., October 19, 2021.  REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

A statue of former U.S. President Thomas Jefferson is pictured in the council chambers in City Hall after a vote to have it removed in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, U.S., October 19, 2021. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

U.S. President Thomas Jefferson’s statue, a presence for more than a century in the New York City Council chamber, is coming down following a public commission reassessment of the legacy of the founding father who was also a slaveholder.

The New York City Public Design Commission voted unanimously on Monday to dismantle the 7-foot (2.13-meter) bronze likeness of Jefferson, which has watched over proceedings in the most populous U.S. city since 1915.

ADVERTISEMENT

During the meeting, the commission also put aside making a decision on a proposal to lend the 187-year-old statue to the New-York Historical Society, leaving open the question of where it will ultimately reside. It is a plaster model of a statue still on display in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda.

“Jefferson embodied some of the most shameful parts of our country’s long and nuanced history,” Councilperson Adrienne Adams, co-chair of the council’s Black, Latino and Asian Caucus, told the commission. “It is time for the city to turn the page and move forward.”

FEATURED STORIES

Similar monuments have become a target of anti-racism protests in recent years. Statues of Civil War Confederate leaders have also been dismantled.

Jefferson’s place in U.S. history is complex.

Having written that “all men are created equal” as the primary author of the Declaration of Independence, he also enslaved more than 600 people and fathered at least six children with Sally Hemings, a woman he enslaved.

Not everyone supported the removal of the statue. Sean Wilentz, a American history professor at Princeton University, wrote in a letter read to the commission: “The statue specifically honors Jefferson for his greatest contribution to America, indeed, to humankind.”

Subscribe to our daily newsletter

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.
Read Next
Don't miss out on the latest news and information.

Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.

TAGS: anti-racism, New York City Council, Slavery, Thomas Jefferson statue
For feedback, complaints, or inquiries, contact us.

Subscribe to our daily newsletter

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and
acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.



© Copyright 1997-2021 INQUIRER.net | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.