Let me say at the outset that I am not an advocate of desecrating public statues. However, if the nation is going to go hog-wild tearing down statues and removing honors for everyone deemed racist, then every honor given to Margaret Sanger should be first in line for removal.
Liberals like to forget that the founder of Planned Parenthood was a white supremacist who created the organization for eugenics, a sick belief that the human “gene pool” would be improved through selective breeding and sterilization. In Sanger’s case improving the gene pool meant keeping blacks, those with a family history of illnesses, and other “deplorables” from reproducing. She also advocated strict immigration rules to keep the “undesirables’ out of the country.
In a letter to Clarence Gamble in 1939, Sanger wrote about getting black preachers to help with her efforts:
We do not want word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population, and the minister is the man who can straighten out that idea if it ever occurs to any of their more rebellious members.
David Kennedy writes in his book “The Career of Margaret Sanger” that in a 1923 speech, Sanger said she believed that, for the purpose of racial “purification,” couples should be rewarded who chose sterilization.
In 1923, the founder of Planned Parenthood sounded downright pre-Hitlerian when she advocated on behalf of a perfect human race: “We want a world freer, happier, cleaner — we want a race of thoroughbreds.”
She presented her ideas to a Ku Klux Klan rally in 1926 in Silver Lake, N.J. She recounted this event in her autobiography:
I accepted an invitation to talk to the women’s branch of the Ku Klux Klan … I saw through the door dim figures parading with banners and illuminated crosses … I was escorted to the platform, was introduced, and began to speak … In the end, through simple illustrations, I believed I had accomplished my purpose. A dozen invitations to speak to similar groups were proffered.
The New York University Margaret Sanger Project notes:
In 1939 Sanger teamed with Mary Woodward Reinhardt, secretary of the newly formed BCFA, to secure a large donor to fund an educational campaign to teach African-American women in the South about contraception. Sanger, Reinhardt and Sanger’s secretary, Florence Rose, drafted a report on “Birth Control and the Negro,” skillfully using language that appealed both to eugenicists fearful of unchecked black fertility and progressives committed to shepherding African-Americans into middle-class culture. The report stated that “[N]egroes present the great problem of the South,” as they are the group with “the greatest economic, health and social problems,” and outlined a practical birth control program geared toward a population characterized as largely illiterate and that “still breed carelessly and disastrously,” a line borrowed from a June 1932 Birth Control Review article by W.E.B. DuBois. Armed with this paper, Reinhardt initiated contact between Sanger and Albert Lasker (soon to be Reinhardt’s husband), who pledged $20,000 starting in November 1939.
Sanger wanted to stop the procreation by those she deemed “unfit.” In a personal letter to Katharine Dexter McCormick in 1950, Sanger called for “a simple, cheap, safe contraceptive to be used in poverty-stricken slums, jungles, and among the most ignorant people.” Obviously by “poverty-stricken slums” was a polite way of saying blacks.
The easiest Sanger statue to remove would be the one in the Smithsonian as it is only a bust, but there is also a statue of her with a gag over her mouth at the Old South Meeting House in Boston.
Cross posted at The Lid