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Michael King, Jr., commonly known to the world as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. omitted several truths in his lifetime, from plagiarizing his doctoral dissertation, to upholding the core family value of fidelity. His early pacifist approach to the Civil Rights Movement and willingness to place assimilation as the foremost goal of that righteous cause dampened my trust in the stability of the pedestal the Black community placed him on long ago; but, in his dedicated support to Planned Parenthood founder, Margaret Sanger, he exemplified a bold courage that I appreciate immensely.

We’ve all heard the stories; more accurately, we’ve all been force fed the myth that Margaret Sanger was a racist villain on a one-woman crusade to staunch the births of Black and Brown babies in the United States. Yes, it is true that she was a devout eugenicist, determined through such means as segregation and sterilization to weed out “inferior” people in society. Sanger also allegedly believed that organized charities implemented to prolong and enhance the lives of impoverished members of society were counter-productive to population control. With these salient facts in mind, I find it ironic that Planned Parenthood’s most vocal detractors, the Grand Ole’ Party, share those beliefs, illuminating them in stark relief in every single discriminatory legislation they attempt to filibuster into existence.

In an attempt to play on the instinctive racial solidarity of the Black community, conservatives continue to tokenize the legacy of Marcus Garvey and his antagonistic view of birth control as proof of their sincere wish to do what is most beneficial for the African-American community. They continue to prop Sanger’s Negro Project up as the singular example of her nefarious intent, while ignoring the life-saving contributions of Planned Parenthood. In a letter to Dr. Clarence Gamble in 1939, after Garvey voiced his opposition to birth control, Sanger revealed a strategy that has haunted her organization to this day:

“We should hire three or four colored ministers, preferably with social-service backgrounds and with engaging personalities. The most successful educational approach to the Negro is through a religious appeal. We don’t want the 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.”

It reads horribly, doesn’t it?

The words written by Sanger makes it easy for accusations of racism, bigotry and prejudice to escape unabated. It makes it even easier for the truth to be buried beneath instinctive defense mechanisms that we have desperately sharpened and honed since the days of Jim and Jane Crow.

But let’s pull back the covers, shall we?

There are two equally powerful Sanger quotes that appear in Earl Conrad’s, “American Viewpoint on U.S Birth and Bias Control,” which was published in The Chicago Defender on September 22, 1945. Not surprisingly, they never quite seem to make the soundbite reel:

“What hangs over the South is that the Negro has been in servitude. The white southerner is slow to forget this. His attitude is the archaic of this age. Supremacist thinking belongs in a museum.”

“The big answer, as I see it, is the education of the white man. The white man is the problem. It is the same as with the Nazis. We must change the white attitudes. That is where it lies.”

In her memoir, Margaret Sanger, An Autobiography, on pages 366-367, Sanger details her harrowing experience meeting with the women’s branch of the Ku Klux Klan in Silver Lake, New Jersey. When Sanger’s life’s work, with all of its contradictions, is viewed in context, what swiftly becomes evident is that her message of reproductive freedom and women’s absolute authority over their bodies extended well beyond the confines of the African-American community. According to her writings, Sanger was an avowed elitist who advocated for contraception, not abortion, and her eugenics philosophy encompassed the poor, mentally ill and disabled — regardless of color. But for conservatives to admit that, they would need to find a new boogey-man to spook Black women into voting against their own self-interests.

Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA), said it best: “The conservatives want small government-small enough to fit in your uterus.” The Republican Party is attempting to eliminate every single public policy that financially assists those historically marginalized in this country, yet pretend to care about life. Their agenda appears to be to preserve a menial workforce for capital gain, yet on reproductive issues, the Black community at-large unwittingly supports that ideology, while decrying the discriminatory practices that are murdering our communities in large numbers.

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  • Jeremy

    This article is written by a two dimensional thinker.
    Who believes that Martin Luther King would have endorsed millions of African American abortions? (something that took place after his award)
    Sanger engineered, in her own words, a system which was designed to seek out MLK (admitted in this article)

    How many presidents ( Henry P. Fairchild), vice presidents (Alan F. Guttmacher) and proud members of The American Eugenics society (Margaret Sanger+ William H Gates Sr.) have to take leadership roles in Planned Parenthood before two dimensional thinkers can see it for what it really is?

    So let me get this straight- After over a century of slavery, a long fight for very basic rights, African Americans, through government policies and wit government money, are now targeted by eugenicists, afforded more government assistance if there is “no man in the in the house” (In the1950’s out-of-wedlock pregnancies were more likely in white households than in black households) sold a gangster culture through the entertainment industry, targeted by CIA operated and assisted drug running operations (see Dark Alliance by Gary Webb & Freeway Rickey Ross who was just released from prison) and encouraged into a state of dependency (which became the model now being employed on all of us)

    Ever been to an Indian reservation? Those depressing places are 100% the product of government policies and planning and not very different than what we’ve done to the African American Communities.

    Wouldn’t the mothers of President Obama and Jesse Jackson have been perfect candidates for abortions under the PP guidelines?

    Our youngest generation right now will not react to their every problem with murder the way that we have.

    And to all those women out there who say “you’re a man, you don’t understand” or “it’s not a baby because I say it’s not” Just try stabbing a pregnant mother to death or running over her with your car. You will be (rightfully) prosecuted for a double homicide and not because she wanted to have the baby and has spent her time painting the spare bedroom, changing her diet, and taking classes with her husband after work.

    • BobFromDistrict9

      Margaret Sanger called abortion, horrible, an abhorrent, and a disgrace to civilization. She wanted birth control as the alternative to abortion.

  • WhiteRacism

    You say this:

    “we’ve all been force fed the myth that Margaret Sanger was a racist villain on a one-woman crusade to staunch the births of Black and Brown babies in the United States.”

    And then proceed to quote Sanger:

    “We do not want word to get out that we want to exterminate the Negro population.”

    And don’t even challenge that it’s an actual quote.

    Cognitive dissonance aside, what exactly is it that you’re trying to prove here?

  • Miss Info

    The person who wrote this article has some serious issues. Margret Sanger made it VERY CLEAR what her agenda was.

    “We should hire three or four colored ministers, preferably with social-service backgrounds and with engaging personalities. The most successful educational approach to the Negro is through a religious appeal. We don’t want the 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.”

    She also Said: “”Colored people are like human weeds and are to be exterminated.”

    How much more clear can she make herself?? Ye the writer of this post would have you believe that is not what she really meant. Someone needs to do their homework before putting up foolishness like this.

    • BobFromDistrict9

      Clear enough for you to realize, she didn’t want the lie that they wanted to exterminate the negro to take root.

      Do you really believe all those black doctors and ministers would be part of such a scheme and not one blow the whistle?

      “She also Said: “”Colored people are like human weeds and are to be exterminated.””

      Where do you find that?

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