Story at a glance

  • The statue will go on long-term loan to the New York Historical Society.
  • The move comes after the city’s Public Design Commission, made up of members appointed by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D), voted in favor of relocating the monument to the museum.
  • The removal was prompted by some city councilmembers who objected to the third president’s legacy as a slave owner, including members of the council’s Black, Latino and Asian Caucus.

A statue of Thomas Jefferson that has stood in New York City Hall for nearly 200 years was removed Monday due to the former president’s role as a slave owner.  

The New York Post reports the 7-foot, 884-pound statue of the founding father was taken down from its pedestal inside the City Council chambers Monday and packed into a wooden crate. The statue will go on a long-term loan to the New York Historical Society. 

The move comes after the city’s Public Design Commission, made up of members appointed by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D), voted in favor of relocating the monument to the museum and library. Some members of the commission had disagreed over those plans because the Historical Society charges an entrance fee, which would make the publicly owned statue more difficult to view.


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Efforts to remove the Jefferson statue, which is a plaster version of a bronze statue located in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda, have been ongoing for decades, but gained traction last year following the police murder of George Floyd that sparked a racial reckoning in the U.S. 

The removal was prompted by some city councilmembers who objected to the third president’s legacy as a slave owner, including members of the council’s Black, Latino and Asian Caucus. 

An initial vote to remove the statue occurred in October

“Thomas Jefferson was a slaveholder who owned over 600 human beings,” Councilmember Adrienne Adams, co-chair of the caucus, said during an October commission meeting.

“It makes me deeply uncomfortable knowing that we sit in the presence of a statue that pays homage to a slaveholder who fundamentally believed that people who look like me were inherently inferior, lacked intelligence, and were not worthy of freedom or rights,” Adams said at the time. 

Those opposed to doing away with the statue argued the statue honors Jefferson for his greatest contributions to America. 

The statue of Jefferson has been in City Hall since 1834 and was moved to the City Council’s chambers in 1915. 


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Published on Nov 23, 2021