ALBANY – Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan Thursday ordered the removal of the Philip Schuyler statue from the front of City Hall.
Schuyler, a major general in the Revolutionary War, was “reportedly the largest owner of enslaved people in Albany during his time,” a release from the mayor’s office read.
The move comes after protests and unrest in Albany and elsewhere over police brutality and the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police officers.
“Scores of community members have reached out to my office requesting the removal of the statue of former slave owner Gen. Philip Schuyler and I thank those residents for making their voices heard,” Sheehan said in a statement. “Our Chief Diversity Officer first raised this issue to me last year and we discussed opportunities to engage the community in a conversation about its removal. It has become clear that now is the time to act and confront the unfortunate history of our nation.”
The order directs the city’s Department of General Services to “take all steps necessary to remove the statue as soon as possible,” the release read. The steps are to include an engineering study to determine its structural integrity. Once removed the statue would then be given to a museum or other institution “for future display with the appropriate historical context.”
The statue has stood in front of City Hall since June 14, 1925, according to @AlbanyArchives on Twitter.
The mayor’s release announcing the move also included support from Albany Auditor Dorcey Applyrs, Albany Treasurer Darius Shahinfar and Common Council President Corey Ellis.
“I fully support the removal of the Philip Schuyler statue from in front of City Hall, to a more appropriate location that will properly put into context his legacy to Albany, the State of New York and America,” Shahinfar said in his statement. “No one should forget his contributions as a military commander in the Revolution, as an Alderman in our City of Albany, as a member of the Continental Congress, as a New York State Assemblymember and Senator, and as a US Senator. However, we can and will no longer whitewash the fact that his prominence and public service was supported by his ‘ownership’ of the largest number of enslaved people in our region.”