Revolutionary War statue of Phillip J. Schuyler is a work of J. Massey Rhind. Rhind installed it in front of the Albany City Hall, Albany, New York. In 2020, America faced major protests due to racism. Schuyler was a slave owner in his time, so many requested the removal of his statue. Three years have passed since the request, and the authorities took her down in June 2023.
Revolutionary War Statue Removal Was Much Needed
The government found a new place for the statue. Of course, the authorities will not place the statue in a public and transitory place, but where people do not go often. This general was a close associate of George Washington. His senatorial and parliamentary achievements brought him this stone structure and public attention, even long after his death.
There is information saying he was the biggest slave owner in his time. Mayoral office adopted an executive order in June 2020 for the statue’s removal. “The City’s decision to place a stature of [Schuyler] in from of the City Hall ignored a grim aspect of his life”, reads the directive. The document also says that in 2005, the remains of 14 enslaved people were found on the property of the general and his family.
During 2016, they got transferred to a nearby cemetery. “The City of Albany is long overdue in confronting its history of racism and inequality“, it concluded. As the data shows, the mayor passed the directive in 2020, but the authorities removed the monument only in June of this year. The authorities delayed the removal for several years due to financial concerns and the pandemic.
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Where the Opposition to Removal Comes From?
The statue of the Revolutionary War general was not the only one removed. It is just one in a series of removals of monuments across America. It all started with the murder of George Floyd by a police officer. Mass protests and the fight against racism, hatred and oppression began. Some, of course, more conservative public office holders did not give their consent for the mass removal of monuments that can call for hatred and intolerance.
For example, the chair of the House Republican Conference Elise Stefanik said on Twitter this removal represents an act of “erasing history”. As previously said, J. Massey Rhind, a sculptor with Scotish origins, made this bronze statue. George C. Hawley was the one who gifted it to Albany in 1925. Hawley was a local beer baron.
The Knickerbocker Press, the official newspaper of the city at that point, said that an event honoring its arrival caught attention of many people. Many locations and streets in Albany still carry Schuyler’s name, despite the fact that he passed away in 1804. “It’s not about cancel culture and not about canceling him, but about moving him to a place where the entire story is contextualized. You cannot contextualize the history of anyone on a traffic circle”, the mayor said.