Smithsonian Won't Remove Bust of Margaret Sanger
The Smithsonian Institution has refused a request by a group of Black pastors to remove the bust of Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger.
The National Portrait Gallery has a bust of Sanger as part of its "Struggle for Justice" exhibit, which includes people like the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks whose contribution to the civil rights movement is universally admired.
In a letter to the institution, the pastors, who call themselves Ministers Taking a Stand, asked that her bust be removed, noting in particular that she supported using eugenics to limit the Black population.
National Portrait Gallery Director Kim Sajet "respectfully" declined their request.
"There is no moral test for people to be accepted into the National Portrait Gallery," Sajet wrote. "Her association with the eugenics movement shadowed her achievements in sex education and contraception, making her a figure of controversy, one whose complexities and contradictions mirror her times."
MTS President Bishop E.W. Jackson told CNSNews.com the group would continue efforts to have the bust of Sanger removed from the "Struggle for Justice" exhibit, saying the gallery director's response "avoids the issue and whitewashes Sanger."
"If they must recognize her 'historical significance,' place her with busts of Pharaoh, Herod, Hitler, Stalin, Mao Zedong, Goebbels, Pol Pot, and Dr. Mengle," Jackson said. "This would put her in proper historical context with the infamous and evil figures who committed genocide."
More than 14,000 people signed an online petition to have Sanger's bust removed from the exhibit.