Monday’s city commission vote will see the removal of the Thomas Jefferson statue that stands above New York City Hall’s council chamber.
The New York City Public Design Commission voted unanimously for the removal of the statue from New York City Hall’s council chamber. Efforts to remove the statue of the third president — who owned about 130 slaves when he died in 1826 — were renewed during the nationwide racial reckoning that followed the police murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis last year. The original plan to move the statue was to have it moved to the New York Historical Society. However, testimony at the meeting raised concerns about the access to the public artwork in a private museum.
The Black, Latino, and Asian Caucus at the New York City Council deplored the delay, stating that the commission had “voted to prolong Jefferson’s indignity”.
The Public Design Commission and Mayor Bill de Blasio didn’t immediately respond to a request of comment. De Blasio was asked about the statue at Thursday’s daily news briefing. He said that he understood why Jefferson’s history as slave owner and why it is something that cannot be ignored. “
The 1833 plaster sculpture is a seven-foot tall replica of a bronze piece by Pierre Jean David D’Algers. It sits in the U.S. Capitol. Since 1915., the plaster replica has been in Congress.
Uriah Phillips Levy was the first Jewish commodore in the Navy. He commissioned the bronze statue with its plaster replica in honor of Jefferson, according to the presentation.
City Council speaker Corey Johnson led the effort to get rid of the statue in the summer 2020 with a letter to de Blasio . Johnson stated that the statue was inappropriate for him and other members of the City Council, including Black, Latino, and Asians. “
“There were disturbing images of racism and divisiveness in our City, which need to be reviewed immediately,” the letter stated. It starts at City Hall. Adrienne Adams, “
Council Member, said that she noticed Thomas Jefferson’s statue “immediately” after her election. She stated that it is the “most prominent” statue in the chamber.
“He “compared the very idea to free slaves from captivity and abandoning children,” she stated, noting that Jefferson had children with Sally Hemmings, a teenage enslaved girl.
Inez Barron, a council member, testified in favor of the removal. She said that slaveholders were a kind of “pimp”, so that plantations could expand and profits could “be raised.” “
She said Jefferson also enacted some the first anti-Native Americans removal measures, which contributed to the “ethnic cleansing” and “genocidal replacement” of Indigenous peoples.
” We are not being revisionist. We are not fighting a war against history. Barron stated that they want to ensure that all the facts are told and that there are no falsehoods or lies.
Tim Fitzsimons is a reporter for NBC News. he/him