In a significant move that has stirred both support and criticism, the city of Albany, New York, recently removed a statue honoring Revolutionary War hero General Philip Schuyler. Erected in 1925, the statue stood atop Albany’s City Hall for nearly a century. However, Schuyler’s ownership of slaves prompted the decision to remove the monument.
On a Saturday morning, a professional moving crew delicately lifted the 9-foot statue from its pedestal, carefully placing it onto a trailer. Accompanying the statue, the pedestal, and a plaque were also removed. The entire process took approximately three hours and incurred a cost of $40,000 for the city of Albany. The statue will be temporarily housed in a storage facility until a permanent location is determined, with the city council establishing a monuments commission to make the relocation decision.
Pride flags fly high while NYC removes a statue of Revolutionary War hero General Philip Schuyler. pic.twitter.com/3XXRjbxYKM
— Addison Smith (@AddisonSmithTV) June 11, 2023
The primary reason cited for the removal of the statue was General Philip Schuyler’s ownership of slaves. In response to the death of George Floyd and the ensuing riots, Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan, a Democrat, ordered the statue’s removal in June 2020. However, the process was delayed due to an extensive engineering study that took longer than anticipated.
Advocates for the statue’s removal argue that it serves as a painful reminder of the historical enslavement endured by African Americans. Dr. Alice Green of the Center for Law and Justice expressed her sentiment, stating that the statue serves as a constant reminder of a painful past. Conversely, some opponents of the statue’s removal, such as Albany county legislator Jeff Perlee, acknowledge the flaws in historical figures like Schuyler but contend that removing the statue is unnecessary, as it overlooks the context of the era in which he lived.
General Philip Schuyler played a significant role in the American Revolution as a major general in the Continental Army and a U.S. senator representing New York. He was also the father-in-law of Alexander Hamilton.