Yes agreed last month to move the 7-foot-tall statue, which had stood in the rooms for more than a century, but got nowhere.
Community leaders have been trying to remove the Jefferson statue for decades, and the latest battle came during the height of the Black Lives Matter movement in June 2020, after the City Council sent it letter to Mayor Bill de Blasio calling for the statue to be removed because Jefferson was a slave owner.
However, there is still a desire for the public to continue to have access to historical artwork.
“That statue may no longer exist in those rooms,” Councilman Daneek Miller said. “For it to appear in you like I said before, it’s psychological warfare that exists to have him in a house’s room.”
Councilman Daneek Miller, co-chaired the Black, Latino and Asian caucus and called for the statue to be removed. But in the end, the Public Design Commission had to figure out where to put it.
The New-York Historical Society was on the table, but some wanted to explore other alternatives.
“It was a gift from a Jewish naval officer to the city in honor of Jefferson’s views on religious freedom,” said historian Todd Fine. “It should be in the building.”
Some committee members were concerned about its inclusion in the New-York Historical Society because it is privately run and charges a $22 admission fee for adults.
They wanted it to be in a free location, like another part of City Hall.
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However, the Historical Society’s “pay-as-you-go” admission policy on Friday night allayed their concerns.
The committee also made the case that the work would be part of educational programs there.
After the move, the statue will be displayed in the museum’s first-floor lobby for about six months before finally being placed in a corner of the reading room.
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