By | James Strock | jamesstrock.substack.com
Theodore Roosevelt died in the early morning hours of Monday, January 6, 1919. Vice President Thomas Marshall observed, “Death had to take him sleeping, for if Roosevelt had been awake there would have been a fight.”
This came to mind amid the controversy over the future of a prominent statue of TR in New York City.
Crews recently worked past midnight as they disassembled the monument that stood in front of the American Museum of Natural History since 1940. It will be transported to North Dakota, where it will be loaned to the Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library now under construction. Other tributes to the Rough Rider remain at the museum, reflecting his family’s historical role in its creation as well as his signature achievements as a naturalist and conservationist.
For Our Time or For All Time?
The Roosevelt controversy is one of a series of widespread challenges to iconography honoring historical figures, gaining intensity following the murder of George Floyd on Memorial Day 2020. Statues of George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Frederick Douglass, Ulysses Grant, Robert E. Lee, Winston Churchill and many others have been vandalized or removed.