Last Friday, right-wing pastor and Fox News contributor E.W. Jackson appeared on the Family Research Council’s “Washington Watch” program to advertise a press conference and rally he is organizing with the Media Research Center to demand the National Portrait Gallery remove a bust of Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger from its “The Struggle for Justice” exhibit.
Jackson told FRC President Tony Perkins, the host of the program, that Sanger’s statue belongs in a “Hall of Infamy or Shame” that includes “Ku Klux Klansmen, Adolf Hitler and Mao Zedong,” saying that she doesn’t belong alongside “Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks as if she was some hero of justice.”
After Perkins falsely claimed that Sanger wanted to “eliminate the black race,” Jackson accused liberals of “rewriting history.”
If Jackson had bothered to do any research, he would have found that Rosa Parks served on Planned Parenthood’s board and Martin Luther King Jr., a vocal advocate of family planning services, accepted the inaugural Margaret Sanger award from Planned Parenthood, praising Sanger as a kindred spirit:
There is a striking kinship between our movement and Margaret Sanger’s early efforts. She, like we, saw the horrifying conditions of ghetto life. Like we, she knew that all of society is poisoned by cancerous slums. Like we, she was a direct actionist – a nonviolent resister. She was willing to accept scorn and abuse until the truth she saw was revealed to the millions. At the turn of the century she went into the slums and set up a birth control clinic, and for this deed she went to jail because she was violating an unjust law. Yet the years have justified her actions. She launched a movement which is obeying a higher law to preserve human life under humane conditions. Margaret Sanger had to commit what was then called a crime in order to enrich humanity, and today we honor her courage and vision; for without them there would have been no beginning. Our sure beginning in the struggle for equality by nonviolent direct action may not have been so resolute without the tradition established by Margaret Sanger and people like her. Negroes have no mere academic nor ordinary interest in family planning. They have a special and urgent concern.
Recently the subject of Negro family life has received extensive attention. Unfortunately, studies have overemphasized the problem of the Negro male ego and almost entirely ignored the most serious element – Negro migration. During the past half century Negroes have migrated on a massive scale, transplanting millions from rural communities to crammed urban ghettoes. In their migration, as with all migrants, they carried with them the folkways of the countryside into an inhospitable city slum. The size of family that may have been appropriate and tolerable on a manually cultivated farm was carried over to the jammed streets of the ghetto. In all respects Negroes were atomized, neglected and discriminated against. Yet, the worst omission was the absence of institutions to acclimate them to their new environment. Margaret Sanger, who offered an important institutional remedy, was unfortunately ignored by social and political leaders in this period. In consequence, Negro folkways in family size persisted. The problem was compounded when unrestrained exploitation and discrimination accented the bewilderment of the newcomer, and high rates of illegitimacy and fragile family relationships resulted.