An 884-pound statue of Thomas Jefferson has been removed from City Hall in New York City after a contentious debate over his slave-owning past.
A dozen workers with Marshall Fine Arts carefully removed the statue from its pedestal and used a pulley system to pack it up and take it out the back door, according to the New York Post, which watched the operation unfold Monday.
The statue, crafted in 1833, had stood at City Hall for nearly two centuries. Now, it will be on loan to the New York Historical Society.
The statue’s fate was part of a broader debate about monuments to the nation’s founders and how to separate their works from their flaws, notably owning slaves.
The debate split the city council, the Post reported, with Minority Leader Joe Borelli, Staten Island Republican, saying its removal would “sideline history,” and Black, Latino and Asian Caucus Co-chair I. Daneek Miller, Queens Democrat, saying it no longer represents modern values.
The statue is a painted-plaster replica of a bronze sculpture by Pierre-Jean David that is on display in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda in Washington, D.C.