Residents react to General Philip Schuyler statue taken down

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Going past Albany City Hall looks different now; a blue tarp covers where General Philip Schuyler’s statue stood for nearly 100 years.

Some people like the change. One woman even called the removal of the statue a monumental moment.

“It feels good,” Melissa Dupin said, who lives in the Capital Region. “The people have been listened to, and it feels good.”

“I’m just happy it got taken down if the history behind it is not something that should be celebrated,” Jack Taylor said.


Others said taking it away means erasing history.

“In my personal opinion, I don’t think it should be down because it is a statue, and yes, he did bad things, but there are so many statues of other people that did many worse things,” Tristan Goss said, another Capital Region resident. “I understand why they did it because slavery was bad. I’m not saying it’s a good thing, obviously, but my point is it’s part of history.”

Removing the Schuyler statue has been in the works for several years. During the pandemic, a teen program with the Underground Railroad Education Center was called by Mayor Kathy Sheehan.

Sheehan posed the question: what to do with Phil?

Mary Liz Stewart is the Executive Director and Co-founder of the education center.

“I think it’s time. I was glad to see some action finally taken on an issue that actually percolated about four years ago, I think,” she said.

Stewart said the group of teenagers spent a whole school year investigating a whole variety of aspects that related to the statue: not only the history of it but why it was made, what the cost was to make it, and what other communities were doing with controversial statues that related to enslavement.

She said the students wrote to Mayor Sheehan, recommending it be removed but not destroyed. Rather to preserve it and use it for educational purposes.

“One of the things that were very important for the teens about moving the Schuyler statue was the fact that, from their perspective, city hall should be a place that’s welcoming to everybody in the community, and it was hard to say that was the case with Phil standing there,” Stewart said.