Margaret Sanger is a saint in the feminist church. She is a charter member of the progressive hall of fame. Liberals revere this woman who preached "race improvement" and denounced what she called "human weeds," "morons," "idiots," "imbeciles," and the "dead weight of human waste."
Hillary Clinton glows that she is "in awe of" Sanger. She said so in 2009 upon receiving Planned Parenthood's "highest honor" that year: its coveted Margaret Sanger Award. Likewise effusive was Nancy Pelosi when she proudly accepted the award in 2014.
Speaking to Planned Parenthood a year earlier, Barack Obama, America's first African-American president, hailed the organization founded by this racial eugenicist committed to creating a "race of thoroughbreds" and purging America's "race of degenerates." "Thank you, Planned Parenthood," and "God bless you," said Obama to a giddy crowd of ecstatic pro-choice women. The president commended Planned Parenthood's "extraordinary" and "remarkable work."
The love by liberals for Planned Parenthood and its founder knows no bounds. A professor blogging at the New York Times argues for placing Margaret's mug on the $20 bill.
And alas, no less than the Smithsonian, America's museum, boasts a handsome bust of Sanger in its stately National Portrait Gallery. Margaret is there enshrined in the Smithsonian's vaunted "Struggle for Justice" exhibit.
This brings me to my reason for writing here today: a group of African-American pastors are demanding the removal of Sanger's bust from the Smithsonian.
"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," states the letter from Ministers Taking a Stand. "Also the notorious 'Negro Project,' which sought to limit, if not eliminate black births, was her brainchild." The pastors quote an infamous December 1939 letter from Sanger to Dr. Clarence Gamble of the Eugenics Society, where, in the context of discussing the Negro Project, Sanger wrote: "We do not want word to get out that we want to exterminate the Negro population and the minister is the man who can straighten out the idea if it ever occurs to any of their more rebellious members."
The succinct, powerful statement from the pastors adds: "Despite these well-documented facts of history, her bust sits proudly in your gallery as a hero of justice. The obvious incongruity is staggering!"
Amen to that.
Liberals must be baffled by this. This isn't the esteemed Planned Parenthood foundress they learned to admire in their college classrooms. Margaret Sanger, a racist? Huh? They never heard that in American History 101. Where could these crazy charges possibly come from?
The answer is a myriad of authoritative sources. For starters, one might consult Sanger's own words. On pages 366-367 of her 1938 autobiography, published by W.W. Norton, one of the leading New York publishing houses, she spoke warmly of her May 1926 speech to the women's chapter of the KKK in Silverlake, New Jersey. Sanger seemed eager to speak to the group. After getting off the train, she was escorted by car along windings roads to a literal barn hidden in the country. There, the undeterred Planned Parenthood matron waited patiently for nearly three hours while her white-hooded sisters engaged in their incendiary routine. She observed "figures parading with banners and illuminated crosses. I waited another twenty minutes. It was warmer and I did not mind so much." "Eventually," recorded Sanger of the toasty atmosphere, "the lights were switched on, the audience seated itself, and I was escorted to the platform, was introduced, and began to speak."
Sanger was tight-lipped regarding what she shared with the klanswomen at their rally, though apparently she was extremely successful and satisfied with herself: "I believed I had accomplished my purpose. A dozen invitations to speak to similar groups were proffered. The conversation went on and on, and when we were finally through it was too late to return to New York…. It was nearly one before I reached Trenton, and I spent the night in a hotel."
The Planned Parenthood founder's KKK talk was a smash hit. Not only did it go very late, after a long wait, but it earned Sanger a dozen new invitations from the klan-sisters. The KKK was quite excited about the work of Planned Parenthood's founder.
Thus, it hardly comes out-of-nowhere when a group of African-American pastors today asks the Smithsonian: "How can a person like Sanger, who found common cause with the racial agenda of the Ku Klux Klan (KKK), be ranked among true champions of 'justice?'"
Precisely. Such words pierce the liberal heart like a dagger. As many conservatives have experienced, when you point out to liberals that Planned Parenthood aborts (by far) a disproportionate number of unborn African-American babies, they go wild with rage and name-calling. You're apt to be reflexively called every name in the liberal playbook for raising this one. As we watch weekly the ghastly Planned Parenthood video exposť released by the Center for Medical Progress, in which Sanger's organization's "medical personnel" nonchalantly discuss dissecting baby parts while sipping Chianti and nibbling Caesar's salad, bear in mind that most of these babies are African-American. Which among them might have been another Rosa Parks, Ben Carson, Martin Luther King Jr., Arthur Ashe, or even Barack Obama?
These African-American pastors know that. Indeed, they show (with a map included) that 70 percent of Planned Parenthood abortion clinics are located in minority neighborhoods. Thus, they're undertaking their own exposť. Their letter, they say, will be but one "in a series of actions we will be taking to expose the evil of honoring Margaret Sanger and Planned Parenthood."
Again, amen to that.
If liberals genuinely care about justice, they should join these African-American pastors in seeking the removal Margaret Sanger's bust from the "Struggle for Justice" exhibit at America's preeminent museum.
--Dr. Paul Kengor is professor of political science and executive director of The Center for Vision Values at Grove City College. His latest book is Takedown: From Communists to Progressives, How the Left has Sabotaged Family and Marriage. His other books include 11 Principles of a Reagan Conservative, The Communist: Frank Marshall Davis, The Untold Story of Barack Obama's Mentor and Dupes: How America's Adversaries Have Manipulated Progressives for a Century.