As confederate statues start to come down – either by government directive or by the hands of protesters, the city of Albany will remove the statue of former U.S. Senator Philip Schuyler, a major general during the Revolutionary War.
Schuyler, made recently famous through the hit musical Hamilton, was reportedly the largest owner of enslaved people in Albany in the 1700s according to Mayor Kathy Sheehan’s office.
Sheehan signed an executive order today directing the removal of the statue in front of City Hall. The statue, constructed in 1925 by sculpter J. Massey Rhind, sits on an land island across from the steps of City Hall on Eagle Street.
The executive order directs the city’s Department of General Services to take all steps necessary to remove the statue as soon as possible, including commissioning an engineering study to determine the statue’s structural integrity. The executive order also directs the statute to be given to a museum or other institution for future display with the appropriate historical context.
“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,” said Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan. “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 removal of the Philip Schuyler statue does not reform systems or eliminate the racism institutionalized in these systems locally and nationally,” said Chief City Auditor Dorcey Applyrs. “However, it symbolically demonstrates an acknowledgement that slavery was wrong. The removal of this statue also acknowledges the horrific and negative implications of slavery and its impact on the lives of Black Americans in the City of Albany every day. City Hall is the people’s hall, and the removal of this statue affirms this notion and sends a clear message that all are welcomed and respected here.”
“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,” said City Treasurer Darius Shahinfar. “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.”
“Hearing the calls of community members, I stand with my fellow citywide elected officials and support the removal of the Gen. Philip Schuyler monument from in front of city hall and its placement at an institution with proper historical context,” said Common Council President Corey Ellis.
Many buildings in Albany and across New York State are named after Schuyler, including but not limited to:
- The town of Schuyler, New York
- The village of Schuylerville, New York.
- Fort Schuyler, constructed 1833–56, at the tip of Throggs Neck was named in his honor. The fort, built to defend the passage between the East River and Long Island Sound from sea invasion, now houses the Maritime Industry Museum and the State University of New York Maritime College.
- The Philip Schuyler Achievement Academy in Albany