Norfolk, Virginia. Last week a national group of black ministers (MINISTERS TAKING A STAND - "MTS") headed by Founder and President, Bishop E.W. Jackson, sent a letter to the National Portrait Gallery that read:
"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 incalculable destruction of unborn human life, particularly black life. She was no hero."
MTS is demanding that the bust and all images of Margaret Sanger be removed from the museum.
Within twenty-four hours after the letter was made public, it went viral on Facebook and Twitter. "So far, we've had 100,000 people express support within the first week, including 10,000 signatures on our petition," said the group's founder. The online petition is at www.standamerica.us.
Said Bishop Jackson, "American citizens want institutions funded by their tax dollars to demonstrate moral clarity, and they object to a national museum honoring a racist whose legacy is the deaths of millions."
The MTS letter was addressed to the head of the National Portrait Gallery, but the response came from the Gallery's Communications & Public Affairs office, and read in part:
"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 ..."
Frankly," Jackson said, "the NPG entirely, and perhaps intentionally, misses the point. Sanger's motivation was not to help poor women, but to prevent them from having babies that she classified as the "defective" children (her term) of "defective" women. The museum's response is the equivalent of saying, 'Hitler may have been a controversial figure, but he did a lot to help the cause of population control.' It is disrespectful and trivializes Sanger's barbarity."
Jackson added, "The black community is outraged when they learn that Margaret Sanger is venerated as a champion of justice alongside Dr. Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks." The MTS letter to the NPG reads, "If Sanger's vision had been realized, MLK and Rosa Parks would never have been born."
The letter represents the start of a campaign to expose the racism of Margaret Sanger and Planned Parenthood, which she founded. MTS will hold a rally and press conference in front of the National Portrait Gallery, to confront Museum officials and present the petition signatures. CitizenGo.org is partnering with MTS by hosting the online petition and collecting signatures.
The list of prominent black leaders supporting the effort is growing and now includes The Hon. J. Kenneth Blackwell, former Ambassador to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights; Dr. Alveda King, niece to civil rights leader, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Director of African American Outreach with Priests for Life; Dr. Johnny Hunter, Founder of the Life Education And Resource Network (L.E.A.R.N.); Ryan Bomberger, Co-Founder of The Radiance Foundation; Rev. Dean Nelson, Chairman of the Frederick Douglass Foundation, and many others.
E.W. Jackson, President of STAND, is a Marine Corps Veteran, retired attorney, graduate of Harvard Law School, 2013 Republican Nominee for Lt. Governor of Virginia, a Senior Fellow for the Family Research Council, and Bishop of THE CALLED church.