The National Museum of African American History and Culture will open September 24, 2016, on the National Capitol Mall in Washington, D.C. It’s construction costs (mostly tax-payer funded) are projected to be in excess of $250 million. It will spend an annual operating budget which will begin at $44 million and no doubt quickly expand. It’s first year staff will number approximately 175 (most of whom will be federal employees) and that number is likely to grow at a pace consistent with the relentless enlargement of all government entities.
The National Park Service estimates that approximately 29 million tourists visited the Capitol Mall in 2014. That number was up nearly 10% from the previous year and is likely to continue growing. A high percentage of the visitors to the Museum of African American History and Culture are expected to be African American school children, many bused in to Washington pursuant to field trips financed with large amounts of public funding. These students will arrive during a highly formative period in the development of their understanding of history and politics. What they experience at this museum will decisively influence their sense of justice and injustice throughout their lives.
The pro-life movement now has a once-in-a-generation opportunity to influence black perceptions and attitudes regarding abortion if we can leverage these enormous investments of public money and establish an ongoing anti-abortion presence at this facility – both inside and out. The government, federal and state, will be funding the operation of this institution and the cost of transporting countless students to visit there. It is guerrilla marketing of the most effective sort to picket there, to make our voices heard and our abortion images seen at this important museum. The target audience will be replenished every day as successive waves of new buses arrive. We want to be there to greet visitors with life-changing truth they will see nowhere else.
Many exhibits at many museums are controversial because history is told by human beings who have biases. This issue will be especially troublesome in a museum so sharply shaped by racial politics. To what extent, for instance, was American slavery an injustice by which white people victimized black Africans? To what extent was American slavery an injustice by which black Africans victimized other black Africans? Were Republicans or Democrats most responsible for slavery and the predations of Jim Crow segregation? Does the greater threat posed to black children emanate from white police officers or black criminals? Do born Black Lives Matter more than unborn black lives?
This museum should have been approved when first proposed in 1915 by African American veterans of the Union Army. There is much African American history which merits acknowledgement and celebration. There is a clear and present danger, however, that this otherwise appropriate museum will be used by the political left as a radical propaganda center. Because the American people are funding what purports to be a vehicle for the education of all (especially all students), it is important to ensure that the entire story of African American history be objectively told. News interviews with museum officials who have promised a prominent emphasis on Black Lives Matter (BLM) kinds of political narratives are, therefore, especially troubling – not least because “Leaders from the Black Lives Matter and reproductive justice movements recently announced a formal organizational alliance.” (truth-out.org, February 15, 2016).
Another complicating factor in the museum’s proposed BLM related content is that all of the police officers alleged to have behaved unlawfully in apprehending the African American suspects whose supposed victimization animates the protesters many grievances, have been cleared (by both Obama Justice Department officials and various state agencies) of all criminal and civil rights accusations.
The Center For Bio-Ethical Reform (CBR) strongly supports the African American Museum of History and Culture, but we support it only to the extent that it is an intellectually honest institution. We cannot stand idly by and watch it be hijacked by angry activists who wield a divisive political agenda. We therefore insist on museum display content which reveals, for example, the sad truth that although African American women account for only 11% of the female population, they are the victims of 36% of all abortions (Centers For Disease Control, November 28, 2014). We want school children to know that by 2009, “… 16 million [black children] had been aborted. Had they lived, the black population would be 50% larger than it was in 2009, 49 million instead of 33 million (National Review, April 9, 2009). By 2014, 18 million black babies had been aborted. That is real “voter suppression,” and showing children what it looks like could save countless lives and protect many mothers.
Exposing the horror of abortion could also serve a powerful voter education function among African American museum visitors. Black political commentator Joseph C. Phillips contends that in presidential elections, even relatively small changes in the black vote can have enormous electoral influence: “If Republicans can capture 16% of the black vote [George W. Bush’s percentage in 2004 was about 12%] Democrats begin to get nervous, 20% and Democrats are in a panic. If Republicans can capture 25% of the Black vote, Democrats will not win the White House or the Senate for a generation. That’s how important the Black vote is.”
Would African American museum-goers, especially children, be so reflexively committed to the pro-abortion candidates if they were shown the horror of the abortions which are devastating African American communities? As noted above, the change in the black vote would not have to be huge to be decisive. “Fourteen presidential contests (30 percent) have been determined by fewer than 5 percentage points.” (CenterForPolitics.org). Races for the U.S. Senate were decided in 1990 and 1991 by only 3 points in New Jersey; in 2002 by 1.1 point in Missouri; in 2008 by less than 1 point in Minnesota; in 2010 by 2 points in Pennsylvania; in 2010 by 1.7 points in Colorado; and in 2014, by 1.6 points in North Carolina (editions.lib.umn.edu).
We propose to exhibit sign panels (5’X5’) on public property along the approaches to the museum’s two entrances. Visitors will have to pass them to enter. Many signs will also display QR codes which visitors can scan to watch pro-life videos on their trip home. Here are some of the signs:
CBR staff member Jackie Hawkins is an African American woman who, along with Rev. Clenard Childress (a CBR board member who pastors a black church in the Newark, NJ area), will direct this project. We hope to staff the project with African American volunteers recruited from black churches in the D.C. area.
Our outdoor exhibit will be used in tandem with a congressional lobbying campaign to intended to persuade Congress to condition museum funding on the inclusion of displays addressing the reality of abortion in the African community.
We hope to benefit from local news coverage which might help attract funding and staffing. Black abortion and the black vote can intersect profoundly at this museum, and we are unlikely to ever again be presented with such an opportunity to save so many lives and influence so many elections at so little expense.