The Sons of Jefferson, a New York-based historical preservation society, took the banner down, while police helped one protester climb a scaffolding to make his point. The group erected a mural, led by the sculptor Caleb. Kelly painting a new statue, honoring Thomas Jefferson, by Oscar Ramirez of New Mexico.
The new statue, commissioned by the State Historic Preservation Office, depicts Jefferson sitting in his office, arm outstretched to his left. His right hand is clasped to a desk, and his finger is raised to his temple in what are purportedly “strategic gestures” to argue for the honor.
It was not the first move to go against the plaque, a tradition that has been in place since 1823, according to the Daily News. In 2014, the plaque was lifted away. Earlier this year, city workers removed a protective glass panes at the base of the plaque. The order was rescinded in February, but the removal of the plaque came just hours after a round of Girl Scout cookies were delivered to City Hall. According to the Daily News, at a community meeting on the day that the plaque was removed, the Rev. Richard Brown, who was wearing a red T-shirt bearing a “SWING BITCH LITTLE GIRL” logo, was removed from the room when Mayor Bill de Blasio asked him to turn it inside out.
Jefferson, a Founding Father, was once the grandmaster of the Virginia Mountaineers, and owned more slaves than any other American president. He also provided the impetus for a system of legal abortion through his writings, which have long been popular with pro-choice proponents.
When Trump signed the executive order in January, a statue of Jefferson was destroyed in Richmond, Virginia.