After his term as president, Col. Theodore Roosevelt embarked upon expeditions through Africa and across America to garner specimens for exhibit at various natural history museums. This work was memorialized by sculptor James Earle Fraser with the 1940 unveiling of a statue of Roosevelt on horseback, flanked by a Native American and an African standing on either side of him.
The statue resides outside the entrance to the American Museum of Natural History in New York. Now it is slated to be removed under pressure from self-appointed intellectuals and armchair historians who believe the statue is a monument to white supremacy. Ignorant of the facts, they insist that having Roosevelt on horseback while his companions stand alongside creates a “pyramid with the white race on top” — “a racial hierarchy and subjugation.” Yes, this is the level of absurdity that the statue topplers have now reached. Surely the intent of the statue should be left to the man who sculpted it. In Fraser’s words: “The two figures at (Roosevelt’s) side are guides symbolizing the continents of Africa and America, and if you choose may stand for Roosevelt’s friendliness to all races.”