After an intense complaint from progressive sectors based on principles of Critical Race Theory, the New York City Council on Monday, Nov. 21 removed the historic statue of one of the founding fathers of the United States, Thomas Jefferson, for alleged racism. The former president was also the first author of the Declaration of Independence.

The statue stands seven feet tall and weighs more than 860 pounds. It was sculpted in 1833 and has stood in the council chambers since 1915. It was given to the city council in 1834 by Uriah Phillips Levy, a naval officer.

A team of workers spent several hours Monday before removing the statue from its pedestal in the council chambers. It was then carefully carried in a padded wooden crate on a short trip to the New York Historical Society, where it will be stored until its final location is decided.

For several years now, a group of councilmen, inspired by Critical Race Theory, have been actively calling for the removal of Jefferson’s statue after accusing him of being a racist for having had slaves working with him, as did the vast majority of businessmen at the time.

After much discussion, the city’s public design commission, whose members are appointed by Democratic Mayor Bill de Blasio, decided to move the historical monument from the Council and take it somewhere with less foot traffic.

The commission’s chairwoman, Signe Nielsen, said last month that she desired to move the statue to “an appropriate place where it will remain in the public realm.”

Eventually, the published documentation indicates that the plaster statue painted in 1833 will go to the second-floor lobby of the Historical Society museum for “approximately six months” before finally being placed in the corner of a reading room. 

Who was Thomas Jefferson

Jefferson was the third president of the United States between 1801 and 1809. His recognizable image is featured on the two-dollar bill and is also immortalized on Mount Rushmore. 

A presidential biography posted on the White House website calls him the “spokesman for democracy” and “principal author” of the 1776 Declaration of Independence.

Jefferson was renowned for being a man of few words but much action.

“As the “silent member” of the Congress, Jefferson, at 33, drafted the Declaration of Independence. In years following he labored to make its words a reality in Virginia. Most notably, he wrote a bill establishing religious freedom, enacted in 1786,” the biography reads.

Beyond the political or ideological opinions that lead to conceptualizing Jefferson positively or negatively, it is undeniable that he has been a leading figure in the historical beginnings of the United States and, in part, set the course of the current greatness of the country. 

So, is it necessary to deny the founding fathers by eliminating their historical tributes just because they do not fit the ideologies of a sector of today’s society?

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