A statue honoring President Theodore Roosevelt which stands in front of New York’s American Museum of Natural History was vandalized with red paint on Thursday, according to reports.
Police said the incident occurred between 3 a.m. and 7 a.m. and they are checking surveillance video of the area for clues, according to the New York Post.
— Gothamist (@Gothamist) October 26, 2017
The statue by sculptor James Earle Fraser was erected in 1939 and depicts the president mounted on a horse and surrounded by an African and a native American.
New York resident Hans Gesell, 82, lamented the destruction. “There is no cause for doing things like this in this society where everybody is free to express their opinion, but not in this way,” he said.
A group calling itself the Monument Removal Brigade took credit for the attack. In a rambling statement released Thursday, the group said the “real damage” was not to the statue, but “lies with patriarchy, white supremacy, and settler-colonialism embodied by the statue.”
The statue was recently targeted for a protest early in October when activists called for its removal because it advances white supremacy.
“Flanked by figures that appear to be Native and African stereotypes in a position of subservience, the statue is a stark embodiment of the white patrician supremacy that Roosevelt himself espoused and promoted and is an affront to all who enter the museum. Statuary is not forever and a monument that glorifies racial and gender hierarchies should be retired from public view,” the group, Decolonize This Place said in a statement posted on Columbus Day.
As president, Teddy Roosevelt essentially created government-sponsored environmentalism with his support of the National Monuments Act (1906). Additionally, with his 1901 dinner with black activist Booker T. Washington, Roosevelt became the first president in U.S. history to invite a black man to the White House for dinner.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.