Thomas Jefferson statue removed from New York City Hall due to slavery links

A New York Commission voted unanimously to dismantle the 187-year-old statue of the third President

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A statue of Thomas Jefferson, the third US President, has been taken down from New York City Hall due to his links to the slave trade.

It is time for the city to turn the page and move forward

Councilperson Adrienne Adams

The New York City Public Design Commission voted unanimously to dismantle the 187-year-old likeness of Jefferson, which has watched over proceedings in the most populous U.S. city since 1915.

During the meeting, the commission also put aside making a decision on a proposal to lend the statue to the New-York Historical Society, leaving open the question of where it will ultimately reside.

Justifying the decision, Councilperson Adrienne Adams, co-chair of the council's Black, Latino and Asian Caucus, told the commission: "Jefferson embodied some of the most shameful parts of our country's long and nuanced history.

"It is time for the city to turn the page and move forward."

Similar monuments have become a target of anti-racism protests in recent years. Statues of Civil War Confederate leaders have also been dismantled.

Black, Latino and Asian Caucus co-chair I. Daneek Miller (D-Queens) said the statue should go because it does not represent "contemporary values."

Having written that "all men are created equal" as the primary author of the Declaration of Independence, he also enslaved more than 600 people and fathered at least six children with Sally Hemings, a woman he enslaved.

Not everyone supported the removal of the statue.

Sean Wilentz, a American history professor at Princeton University, wrote in a letter read to the commission: "The statue specifically honors Jefferson for his greatest contribution to America, indeed, to humankind."