Bust of Margaret Sanger to Remain in Smithsonian Despite Letter of Protest

Bust of Margaret Sanger to Remain in Smithsonian Despite Letter of Protest

The Smithsonian National Gallery has denied the request of a group of ministers that the bust of Margaret Sanger be taken down.

The ministers, who are part of the group Ministers Taking a Stand, wrote a letter to the Gallery last week, the Christian Examiner reports, saying that the bust of Sanger should be taken down because she was a eugenicist who wanted to extinguish the black race by promoting black abortions.

"Perhaps the Gallery is unaware that Ms. Sanger supported black eugenics, a racist attitude toward black and other minority babies, an elitist attitude toward those she regarded as 'the feeble minded;' speaking at a rally of Ku Klux Klan women; and communications with Hitler sympathizers," the letter to the Gallery’s director, Kim Sajet, said.

Sajet and the Gallery, however, claim that the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery is not a “hall of fame,” but rather a collection of people who shaped history, and thus individuals like John Wilkes Booth and Lee Harvey Oswald also have places there. The Gallery said that they do not condone all of Sanger’s beliefs, but recognize the role she played in history.

“Margaret Sanger is included in the museum's collection, not in tribute to all her beliefs, many of which are now controversial, but because of her leading role in early efforts to distribute information about birth control and medical information to disadvantaged women,” the gallery’s statement to the Ministers said, “as well as her later roles associated with developing modern methods of contraception and in founding Planned Parenthood of America." 

The Ministers remain unconvinced.

“Planned Parenthood continues to suppress the growth of minority populations by locating 70% of its abortion facilities within in or near black and Latino communities .... This explains why elective abortion remains the number one cause of death among black Americans, higher than all other causes combined. We will not remain silent while the National Portrait Gallery venerates someone who sought to eradicate our very existence. Ms. Sanger was a racist, elitist, and her beliefs led to massive destruction of unborn human life. She was no hero," the pastors proclaimed in their letter.

The Ministers have not yet issued a responding letter or statement to the Gallery. 

Photo courtesy: flickr.com

Publication date: August 14, 2015