“While Margaret Sanger has been noted as a pioneer in achieving medical and sexual liberties for women in America, her accomplishments do not overshadow her simultaneous use of eugenicist policies and funding and thus her legacy must be examined through a dialectical lens.”
Margaret Sanger was the founder of modern day Planned Parenthood and is regarded as a pioneer in women’s reproductive justice. However, her motives for the work she did involving birth control access and the specific communities targeted for healthcare remediation were questionable in that they often carried heavy themes of eugenics and race control. Despite the contemporary discourse surrounding her affiliation with eugenics groups, her idealized image as a hero of women’s healthcare has often ignored or silenced her participation in these hate groups. The question for modern historians and feminists is how to celebrate the gains that she made for women’s reproductive justice while acknowledging those were oppressed in her zeal to achieve her goals. While Margaret Sanger has been noted as a pioneer in achieving medical and sexual liberties for women in America, her accomplishments do not overshadow her simultaneous use of eugenicist policies and funding and thus her legacy must be examined through a dialectical lens.
Margaret Sanger was an activist and social reformer born into a Roman Catholic working-class American family. As a child, she watched her mother struggle through many 1 miscarriages and believed that her mother’s death at the early age of forty was caused by the miscarriages she had suffered through. Their family was very poor and her father was unstable and often drunk, leaving Margaret alone with her ten siblings. Margaret left home to attend 2 Claverack College and Hudson River Institute in 1896 to escape her home life and poverty. 3
Sanger studied nursing and soon married William Sanger and gave birth to three children. 4 Through this work, and during their time living in Paris, Margaret became interested in sex education as she noticed a large gap in support for women. She worked as a nurse in a predominantly poor immigrant neighborhood on the Lower East Side and she met and treated many women who had undergone unsafe “back-alley” abortions or had tried to self terminate their pregnancies. At this time, female reproductive healthcare was largely underdeveloped, and 5 accessible only to those with both money and a sense of security that they would not get penalized for seeking health treatment. The social rules around sexual reproduction, let alone 6 sexual pleasure, were strict and began and ended with decorum. Women could confide in each other about their bodily functions, but “women’s troubles” would never have been shared with men outside of the more unavoidable shared aspects of pregnancy. The practice of “confinement” was indicative of the secrecy, silence, and shame surrounding all aspects of female reproductive healthcare; across many cultures and for the majority of recorded history, those with economic advantage would experience some sort of confinement after giving birth, where they would be supported as they and the baby transitioned into their new roles and responsibility. Although this process is often referred to as a positive aspect of female 7 community building, with one author of a recent historical book referring to it as, “a golden rope connecting women from one generation to the next,” the origin of this behavior is more likely 8 due to the desire of the men in the community to distance themselves from the routine health needs of women. However, there is evidence that women were still aware of methods of contraception and bodily function regulation, and would use methods like newspaper columns to seek information and to sell their wares. A column from 1842 records the correspondence of women seeking information and tools for the “obstruction of their monthly periods.” Things 9 were much worse for women outside of the safety of wealthy spheres, living in poverty, in recently established immigrant communities, or in places of low literacy without the ability to seek out information for oneself. Even the Bible describes the bleak outlook for women who had the gall to have a period, and the “red tent” practice, in which a woman is shunned and isolated form the community during her period, remains even today in some parts of the world. Gilded Age America was not a particularly good place in which to inhabit a female body, and as the Comstock Laws will evidence, there was active work being done to keep women’s issues separated from the view of men, and to keep women in ignorance of sexual pleasure and the freedoms associated with planning pregnancies. Thus, when Sanger began her campaign for accessible sex education for women in 1912 by writing the newspaper column “What Every Girl Should Know,” she was going against the unnecessary suffering of these women and wanted 10 for them to have safe and accessible contraceptives and education, even if doing so had the high probability of getting her into trouble.
Sanger and her family eventually moved to Greenwich Village in 1910. At the time, 11 Greenwich Village was a very politically radical area and Margaret became involved in politics. Although initially introduced to socialism and bohemian values by her husband, William, it was Margaret who became the political activist. As she engaged more heavily in the birth control movement, their marriage faltered, and they were separated in 1914. Her second marriage would happen after their divorce was finalized in 1921. At that time, she would choose to marry J. Noah H. Slee, a choice that will be examined in more detail later on this in paper, but who in the moment allowed her to fund her work and further her support for lower income women. She 12 joined the Women’s Committee of the New York Socialist Party and the Liberal Club, and participated in many strikes as a supporter of the Industrial Workers of the World Union. The ideas of socialism and bohemianism, of equality and pleasure-seeking choices that she became exposed to while in Paris with her first husband, remained powerful proponents for her as she tried to bring equity into the healthcare sphere. Additionally, she recognized that there was 13 power in collective bargaining action, and that working class individuals were an important and often overlooked aspect of society that needed to be rewarded the same benefits as those in the upper classes. Like many women over the ages, she realized that some sort of way to provide a safe and easy way to prevent against pregnancy where a women had complete autonomy and control over her body. As a woman living in the Gilded Age, however, she realized that this solution would likely be produced through research science and applied medicine, rather than in the home cures used by every generation before her, including the practice of the Ancient Egyptians of putting alligator dung in the vaginal canal to prevent against conception. She 14 started her own feminist publication known as ‘The Women Rebel’ in 1914. It promoted women’s rights to contraception and autonomy over their bodies. Even as she was engaging in this work, she was well aware that her actions and choice to be very public about her advocacy of contraception put her in a position to be arrested for violating the Comstock Act. The Comstock Act of 1873 prohibited trade in circulation of “obscene and immoral materials.” These acts were named by their primary proponent, Anthony Comstock, who was 15 an active leader in the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) and created the New York Society for the Suppression of Vice, with the goal of reducing the impact that obscene materials had on children. Comstock believed that the youth were being corrupted by a wide variety of publications, and he targeted the United States Postal Services as a source of distribution that needed to be regulated to keep the purity of the American youth. Even in his time, Comstock’s 16 beliefs were considered to be too judgemental or, at times, ludicrous; playwright George Bernard Shaw wrote that, “Comstockery is the world’s standing joke at the expense of the United States. Europe likes to hear of such things. It confirms the deep-seated conviction of the Old World that America is a provincial place, a second-rate country-town civilization after all.” However, upon 17 being named an United States Postal Inspector, Comstock and his laws were tightly woven into the politics of the time, and the repression of information, devices, and medications related to all manner of obscene materials. This included any information or tools about contraception and abortion within its definition of obscene materials. It also made importing or mailing anything related to contraception and abortion a crime punishable by law; by controlling the Postal Service, a primary method of information transfer in the Gilded Age, Comstock’s laws had far-reaching consequences. Those who were found to be in violation of said act received a 18 five-year jail sentence. Sanger’s publications about abortion and contraception, while ostensibly about public health, were identified as being the type of obscene content that the Comstock Act prohibited. Rather than get arrested for going against the Act, she fled to England. While in 19 England, she learned about and researched many other forms of birth control and smuggled them back into the U.S. when she returned to her home in 1915 once the charges against her had been dropped. Her estranged husband William was accosted during her absence by some of Comstock’s agents, but he did not expose her whereabouts despite their separation. For refusing to help, he served thirty days on Blackwell’s Island, a prison in New York City. This 20 would not be the only time that Sanger’s family would be imprisoned as an attempt to silence her and her work. At juncture in her career, Sanger is credited with coining the term “birth control” to describe contraception and began touring to promote its use and functionality. Her focus 21 at this time was to emphasize the idea of choice both before and during gestation, to elongate the window of opportunity afforded to women to control their bodies. After touring, she opened her first birth control clinic in 1916 at 46 Amboy Street in the Brownsville neighborhood of Brooklyn. She had initially chosen the location due to her tight knit relationship with the community. She knew the services she would provide would be welcomed and much needed 22 within the community. She modeled the clinic after ones she had visited previously in Holland. 23 The clinic operated secretly, relying solely on word of mouth. Each woman that came through was offered Sanger’s informational pamphlet “What Every Girl Should Know” (see inset above), which included information and instructions about various methods of contraception.24
The clinic was incredibly successful and managed to see one hundred women within the first day of operation. However, within nine days, Sanger and her entire staff — including family members — were arrested (see inset below). They were charged with “providing information on contraception.” They spent three days together in jail for breaking the law. She appealed her 25 arrest on the grounds that the the material she was accused of distributing was not obscenity, but medical health information, and thus should not be subject to the restrictive propaganda act. When the court upheld her defense and ruled in her favor, she successfully changed the tide in favor of freedom of choice. The court maintained the opinion of law enforcement that obscene materials should still be restricted, but it allowed an exception to the law to allow for doctors to prescribe contraception for medical reasons. Buoyed by this success, Sanger established several additional institutions to capitalize on the changing view of birth control and women’s choice. In 1917, the first edition of the Birth Control Review was published, and the American Birth Control League gaveled their first meeting in 1921 with Sanger as president. In later years, this organization became what is now known as Planned Parenthood. Learning from her prior experience, Sanger 26 opened the first legally-permitted clinic, the Birth Control Clinical Research Bureau, and in 1929, she started the National Committee of Federal Legislation for Birth Control to advance issues of women’s rights and birth control through the legal system. In 1939, the summation of her labors bore fruit when the U.S. Court of Appeals allowed for birth control medications, tools, and related materials to be imported into the U.S. In the 1950s, money from her research foundation, funneled through the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, helped to sponsor the study that produced the first oral contraceptive pill. The legacy of Margaret Sanger paints 27 her as a pioneer in the fight for women’s reproductive rights, and the sustained work of Planned Parenthood is a testament to her strength and courage in the face of adversity.28
However, this is not the whole story. Margaret Sanger did not achieve these aims without assistance. As a woman of her time and class, Sanger would have needed to find funding to support her work, and she would gain needed respectability through marriage. As it happens, her choice of both a husband and a funding group led her to the American Eugenics Society, which encouraged her goals with the hope of limiting the populations of African Americans and Native Americans. Although it is not clear if she was a believer in these principles before she began working with them, it is undeniable that her relationship with the American Eugenics Society forever tinged both her legacy and her writings about the importance of contraception. Between the 1910s and her death in 1966, Sanger was involved in several eugenics meetings, programs, educational series, and projects. In the United States, eugenics intersected with the birth control 29 movement in the 1920s, and Sanger reportedly spoke at eugenics conferences. She wrote many papers with questionable themes, saying that she would make sure they, “lay all our emphasis upon stopping… the reproduction of the unfit.” Her definition of “unfit” was was often left 30 ambiguous, but since she was giving these speeches at white supremacist gatherings and publishing her thoughts in an effort to calm the fears in the communities of color who questioned her motives, it can be extrapolated that her definition of unfit probably did not include white people like herself. Sanger also worked on a project delicately titled the “Negro Project,” in which the goal was to bring birth control to African American populations with the stated intent of limiting the growth of said populations. The project was initiated by Sanger in 1939 and was 31 a collaboration between the American Birth Control League and Sanger’s Birth Control Clinical Research Bureau. However, she also had significant support for this project from prominent 32 leaders in the black community, including W.E.B. Dubois, despite the racist overtones of the project. Although it seems counterproductive in hindsight that Sanger would partner with leaders in the communities of color in order to do her work, Sanger was very aware that her “Negro Plan” would not necessarily go over well and came up with a solution to this problem; she wrote, “We do not want 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.” Even in her writing, Sanger is careful to phrase her ideas about the 33 “word” or “idea” of racist actions, rather than to focus her deception on whether or not the racism was real. Sanger understood the power of perception, and realized that all that mattered was that she didn’t appear as a racist when speaking to communities of color. In order to appear trustworthy and access new communities, she often went through ministers and religious leaders, first convincing them that her cause would benefit the poor black people in their congregations, and then making sure that they convinced the people of her “good intent,” when she arrived in person. Sanger also talked about contraceptives being used to facilitate, “the process of weeding out the unfit [and] of preventing the birth of defectives,” and it appears as though her definition 34 “defectives” included communities of color. Notably, she spoke to the Klu Klux Klan. She detailed the encounter in her autobiography saying, “Always to me any aroused group was a good group, and therefore I accepted an invitation to talk to the women’s branch of the Ku Klux Klan.” She was not ashamed of her speech which she made clear when she stated that “(she) 35 believed (she) had accomplished (her) purpose. A dozen invitations to speak to similar groups were proffered.” She enjoyed her interactions with the KKK and wanted to continue her 36 connections with them. When various interest groups representing communities of color expressed concern about the role of contraceptive clinics in furthering racist aims, Sanger wrote that she was going to use black religious leaders to try and convince communities of color that her motives were pure, when in fact they were not. As one examines Sanger’s legacy, the most problematic evidence regarding Sanger’s motives are her collected writings and articles. Although early articles focus more on her push for contraceptives, by 1921, Sanger was writing regularly in her Birth Control Review, and the articles took on a decisively eugenicist tone. A well known eugenist, Eugen Fischer, who was funded by The Rockefeller Foundation (one of many same organizations that also funded and supported Sanger’s work), was responsible for the racial hygiene theory adopted by Nazis. Her work at the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute led to the 37 eugenics directly implemented in the Holocaust. The deep connection between Sanger’s 38 eugenics work and the Nazi eugenicists who carried out much of the reproductive system torture as well as the planned sterilization of the “inferior” races makes it difficult to deny that Sanger was not herself motivated by these ideas.
The connection of the American eugenics movement to the rising power in Germany was not limited to Sanger herself; later, in 1928, the cover of the Birth Control Review (see insert) featured minutes from a meeting between Sanger, the executive council, and representatives from prominent American eugenics supporters. Interestingly enough, Sanger has yet another connection to Hitler in that Whitney had previously sent him letters complimenting him for a book he had written on sterilization. By 1946, when popular 39 opinion had turned against eugenics after the end of the Second World War, Sanger published an article in the Negro Digest which shows that she walked back some of her rhetoric about who should have the right to dictate to others about their child needs. In particular, Sanger wrote that 40 a black women has as much and possibly more right to make that decision for herself and her family, which is in contrast to the language Sanger had used that implied a divine mandate for her to tell others how to control their births. Although she might have changed her mind about the eugenics movement by the time that she passed away, the scarcity of evidence about her progressive thoughts and the lack of an apology for her former actions leaves this as more of an assumption than as a certainty for those looking to absolve her.
With historical evidence to support Sanger’s positive impact on the reproductive healthcare of women situated alongside the financial and potentially philosophical reality of her partnership with eugenicists, describing Sanger’s legacy remains a complex task. Even as research was being completed for this paper, it was necessary to search the full phrase “Margaret Sanger eugenicist” in order to find internet search hits that did not focus solely on her professional accomplishments. In fact, when preliminary research for this paper was conducted by reading the special section about the birth control movement in the classroom textbook by Foner, the three paragraphs over two pages took time to mention her childhood but did not 41 make any mention of her relationship to eugenics. Of course, Foner is subject to the same publication and editorial demands as any other textbook author, yet it does seem hard to believe that a significant portion of the evidence about Sanger’s work and life would be omitted for any reason, while details about her ten siblings made it into the final edition. One could argue that being raised in such a large family could have inspired her to crusade for contraception; however, one could argue as easily that her eugenics leanings helped to propel her to continue the battle when faced with jail time (and a bail price she would have to pay off with funding from those partners). Foner himself summarizes this discrepancy in presenting heroes of American history in his preface to the text, “Americans have always had a divided attitude towards history. On the one hand, they tend to be future-oriented, dismissing events of even the recent past as ‘ancient history’ and sometimes seeing history as a burden to be overcome, a prison from which to escape. On the other hand, like many other peoples, Americans have always looked to history for a sense of personal or group identity and of national cohesiveness.” This desire of Americans in particular to obscure the difficult truths associated with our history 42is at once understandable and defensibly, and Foner’s acknowledgement indicates that he might unintentionally make this decision. Yet, in order to truly form an identity or a national cohesion, it is important to identify the moments where those who built up our history were themselves subject to the same flaws that we identify in our current landscape. Our heroes were as vulnerable to the same missteps as we are today, and by drafting histories that emphasize the complexity of the hero, we could help to foster that sense of national cohesion by discussing and processing the horrible things that we have done to each other in the name of “progress.”
Depicting Sanger as a complex historical figure does not diminish her power, it actually increases it. Consider the idea that Sanger might have only taken money from eugenic societies in order to fund her goals, and that she wasn’t herself a racist (her careful phrasing in most correspondence keeps that door ajar). In modern economic ethics, if one takes money from an organization, one is purportedly in favor of the values of that organization. This topic comes up time and again with modern politicians; for example, when the recent vote happened in the Senate to reestablish Net Neutrality, many of the list of senators who voted to keep it repealed had taken money from telecommunications companies who favored the ban, whereas many of their represented constituencies were in favor of repealing. However, when one examines a 43 historical issue that had been politicized, one must also identify the general availability of money at that time. For Sanger, access to money for her projects was greatly limited due to her gender and her cause, and it might truly have been impossible to find money other than that of eugenicists, as they had a similarly-aligned cause. Yet with her later writings, in particular her pro-eugenics manifesto, “The Eugenic Value of Birth Control Propaganda,” it seem as though she has embraced the eugenicist idea by at least 1921. Did she begin her crusade for birth control as a eugenicist, or did she embrace the values later? Once she took the money, was it then easier for her to compromise other morals in pursuit of her goal? These are the kinds of questions that make Margaret Sanger a much more interesting character than just a pro-birth control fighter. Complex characters are real characters, and history will be best learnt from if the models that are presented have the same weaknesses and foibles, and yet achieve great things despite these more negative traits. And when it comes to creating a historical model for a young woman in America, it is important to frame historical figures in their contexts to highlight their successes, as well as acknowledge their struggles and the compromises they made along the way. These choices are incredibly familiar to young American women today, and if Sanger’s story was told with all of the complexities and complications that come with living a full life as a woman at any time, then potential future activists sitting in classrooms right now might be inspired to take on large projects themselves.
While Margaret Sanger is well respected and often remembered as an activist and in achieving medical and sexual liberties for women in America, her legacy is tinged by the fact that her efforts were funded by racists and eugenicists and her work often benefited from the suffering of those she deemed “unfit.” Since her actions were funded by eugenicists her work must be put into perspective and she should both be remembered for the strides she made for woman as the founder of planned parenthood, but also someone who sacrificed moral beliefs and equal treatment of the people she claimed to care for in exchange for funding. Margaret Sanger was a complex woman who will always be remembered in history as a pioneer for women’s rights, but also must be remembered for her money from racists and eugenicists.
1. Eric, Foner. Give Me Liberty! An American History. New York: WW Norton &, 2017. 713-714.
2. “Margaret Sanger Biography.” Encyclopedia of World Biography. Accessed April 06, 2018. http://www.notablebiographies.com/Ro-Sc/Sanger-Margaret.html.
3. Margaret, Sanger. Autobiography (New York: Norton, 1938), p. 13; Katz, Esther, et al., eds, The Selected Papers of Margaret Sanger, Vol. 1: The “Woman Rebel” 1900–1928 (Urbana: Illinois University Press, 2003), pp. 4–5.
5. “Margaret Sanger.” Biography.com. April 28, 2017. Accessed April 06, 2018. https://www.biography.com/people/margaret-sanger-9471186
7. Wei-Chen, Tung (22 June 2010). “Doing the Month and Asian Cultures: Implications for Health Care”. Home Health Care Management & Practice. 22 (5): 369–371.
8. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Postpartum_confinement. Ou, Heng; Amely, Greeven; Belger, Marisa (2016). The First Forty Days: The Essential Art of Nourishing the New Mother. ISBN 9781617691836. (book quote found on wiki we spoke about it in class)
9. Mrs. Bird, female physician To the Ladies–Madame Costello. New York, 1842. Photograph. https://www.loc.gov/item/2002719613/.
10. Margaret, Sanger “WHAT EVERY GIRL SHOULD KNOW.” NYU. Accessed May 30, 2018. https://www.nyu.edu/projects/sanger/webedition/app/documents/show.php?sangerDoc=304922.xml.
11. “Biographical Sketch.” NYU. Accessed May 29, 2018. https://www.nyu.edu/projects/sanger/aboutms/.
12. “Margaret Sanger.” Biography.com. April 28, 2017. Accessed April 06, 2018. https://www.biography.com/people/margaret-sanger-9471186.
13. “Margaret Sanger.” Economic Aspects of Euthanasia | The Life Resources Charitable Trust. Accessed May 30, 2018. http://www.life.org.nz/abortion/aboutabortion/historyglobal10/Default.htm.
14. Chris, Will. “Early Forms of Birth Control Were Revolutionary but Look Scary.” Mashable. June 07, 2015. Accessed May 30, 2018. https://mashable.com/2015/06/07/early-birth-control/#3lt27KVpvZqp.
15. Britannica, The Editors of Encyclopaedia. “Comstock Act.” Encyclopædia Britannica. February 15, 2017. Accessed April 06, 2018. https://www.britannica.com/event/Comstock-Act.
16. De Robigne Mortimer, Bennett (15 May 1878). “Anthony Comstock: his career of cruelty and crime; a chapter from The champions of the Church”. New York, Liberal and Scientific Publishing House. Retrieved 15 May 2018 – via Internet Archive.
17. “Anthony Comstock.” Pseudoscience – RationalWiki. Accessed May 29, 2018. https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Anthony_Comstock.
18. Britannica, The Editors of Encyclopaedia. “Comstock Act.” Encyclopædia Britannica. February 15, 2017. Accessed April 06, 2018. https://www.britannica.com/event/Comstock-Act.
19. “Margaret Sanger.” Depression-era Soup Kitchens. Accessed May 30, 2018. https://www.u-s-history.com/pages/h1676.html.
20. Neil A., Hamilton. Rebels and Renegades: A Chronology of Social and Political Dissent in the United States. Place of Publication Not Identified: Routledge, 2013. 182.
21. Jonathan, Eig. The Birth of the Pill: How Four Crusaders Reinvented Sex and Launched a Revolution. London, England: Pan Books, 2016. 3.
22. Margaret Sanger Papers Project. Accessed May 29, 2018. https://sangerpapers.wordpress.com/tag/brownsville-clinic/.
23. “Sanger’s First Clinic.” Margaret Sanger Papers Project. November 19, 2010. Accessed May 21, 2018. https://sangerpapers.wordpress.com/2010/10/26/sangers-first-clinic/.
25. “Margaret Sanger.” Biography.com. April 28, 2017. Accessed May 31, 2018. https://www.biography.com/people/margaret-sanger-9471186.
26. Melissa R., Klapper (August 22, 2014). Ballots, Babies, and Banners of Peace: American Jewish Women’s Activism, 1890–1940. NYU Press. pp. 137–138.
27. The New York Times. Accessed May 24, 2018. https://archive.nytimes.com/www.nytimes.com/learning/general/onthisday/bday/0409.html.
28. Peter, Engelman, “McCormick, Katharine Dexter”, in Encyclopedia of Birth Control, Vern L. Bullough (ed.), ABC-CLIO, 2001, pp. 170–1. Marc A. Fritz, Leon Speroff, Clinical Gynecologic Endocrinology and Infertility, Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2010, pp. 959–960.
29 “Margaret Sanger.” Biography.com. April 28, 2017. Accessed April 06, 2018. https://www.biography.com/people/margaret-sanger-9471186
30. Margaret Sanger, “Birth Control and Racial Betterment,” Feb 1919. Published article. Source: Birth Control Review, Feb. 1919., Library of Congress Microfilm 131:0099B.
31. “Reflections on Roe: When Margaret Sanger Spoke to the KKK.” The American Spectator. March 15, 2017. Accessed May 23, 2018. https://spectator.org/61552_reflections-roe-when-margaret-sanger-spoke-kkk/. 366-367.
32. The Negro Project was initiated in 1939 by Margaret Sanger, founder of Planned Parenthood. It was a collaborative effort between the American Birth Control League and Sanger’s Birth Control Clinical Research Bureau
33. “Newsletter #28 (Fall 2001).” NYU, www.nyu.edu/projects/sanger/articles/bc_or_race_control.php.
34. Amita, Kelly. “Fact Check: Was Planned Parenthood Started To ‘Control’ The Black Population?” NPR. August 14, 2015. Accessed May 27, 2018. https://www.npr.org/sections/itsallpolitics/2015/08/14/432080520/fact-check-was-planned-parenthood-started-to-control-the-blac k-population.
35. Margaret, Sanger. 1971. Margaret Sanger: an autobiography. New York: Dover Publications. (page 366 and 367)
37. Gretchen E. Schafft, From Racism to Genocide: Anthropology in the Third Reich (Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 2004), pp. 48-54.
38. United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, www.ushmm.org/information/exhibitions/traveling-exhibitions/deadly-medicine.
39. “Saynsumthn’s Blog.” Saynsumthns Blog. Accessed May 29, 2018. https://saynsumthn.wordpress.com/tag/leon-whitney/.
40. Margaret, Sanger. “Love or Babies: Must Negro Mothers Choose.” NYU, www.nyu.edu/projects/sanger/webedition/app/documents/show.php?sangerDoc=320905.xml.
41. Eric, Foner. Give Me Liberty! An American History. New York: WW Norton &, 2017. 713-714.
42. Eric, Foner. Give Me Liberty! An American History. New York: WW Norton &, 2017. Preface xviii.
43. Aaron, Barksdale. “Reddit Users Exposed Elected Officials Selling Out on Net Neutrality.” Impact, 5 Dec. 2017, impact.vice.com/en_us/article/j5d85p/reddit-users-exposed-elected-officials-selling-out-on-net-neutrality-by-taking-over-the-site s-front-page.
“Anthony Comstock.” Pseudoscience – RationalWiki. Accessed May 29, 2018. https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Anthony_Comstock. This source was a quotation by George Bernard Shaw found on the biography page of Anthony Comstock. It details how he feels about Comstockery and how the general public viewed it as a joke overall. This source helped me understand that the comstock laws were not only disliked by Activists, they were also disliked by the general public.
Barksdale, Aaron. “Reddit Users Exposed Elected Officials Selling Out on Net Neutrality.” Impact, 5 Dec. 2017,impact.vice.com/en_us/article/j5d85p/reddit-users-exposed-elected-officials-selling-out-on-net-neutrality-by-taking-over-the-sites-front-page. This source was an article detailing how senators took money from telecommunications and allowed themselves to be morally swayed and vote for repealing net neutrality. This is relevant because it is a similar narrative to what Margaret Sanger did when taking money from Eugenicists.
Bennett, De Robigne Mortimer (15 May 1878). “Anthony Comstock: his career of cruelty and crime; a chapter from The champions of the Church”. New York, Liberal and Scientific Publishing House. Retrieved 15 May 2018 – via Internet Archive. This source is an archive of an article displaying Anthony Comstock’s fears of youth being corrupted through the postal service. This source is relevant because it shows how Comstocks laws were surrounded by fear of sexuality and freedom.
Bird, Mrs. female physician To the Ladies–Madame Costello. New York, 1842. Photograph. This source is an image of a newspaper article showing two advertisements from the New York sun newspaper. Mrs. Bird offers pills for treatment of menstrual irregularity and Madame Costello offers help to women who want to be treated for “obstruction of their monthly periods.” This source is important because it shows how women accessed important information about their bodies.
“Biographical Sketch.” NYU. Accessed May 30, 2018. https://www.nyu.edu/projects/sanger/aboutms/. This source is a biography on Margaret Sanger. It is important because it gives very telling details into her life.
Britannica, The Editors of Encyclopaedia. “Comstock Act.” Encyclopædia Britannica. February 15, 2017. Accessed April 06, 2018. https://www.britannica.com/event/Comstock-Act. This source gives details and the specifics of the Comstock Act. It is important in understanding the Act and how it affected Sanger’s work.
Eig, Jonathan. The Birth of the Pill: How Four Crusaders Reinvented Sex and Launched a Revolution. London, England: Pan Books, 2016. 3. This source is from a book. It is important because it explains how Margaret Sanger coined the term birth control.
Engelman, Peter, “McCormick, Katharine Dexter”, in Encyclopedia of Birth Control, Vern L. Bullough (ed.), ABC-CLIO, 2001, pp. 170–1.
Marc A. Fritz, Leon Speroff, Clinical Gynecologic Endocrinology and Infertility, Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2010, pp. 959–960. This source details books in which Margaret Sanger and Planned Parenthood’s legacy is apparent. This is important because it showed that the impact of planned parenthood was far beyond Sanger.
Foner, Eric. Give Me Liberty! An American History. New York: WW Norton &, 2017. 713-714. This source is a textbook. It is important because it shows how we often don’t put into text the details of our heroes that paint them as less so. It helps prove my point that Sanger is often remembered for the good she has done, but the bad is often forgotten.
Hamilton, Neil A. Rebels and Renegades: A Chronology of Social and Political Dissent in the United States. Place of Publication Not Identified: Routledge, 2013. 182. This source is an article. It gives a background on William Sanger and shows that he was willing to go to prison for his cause.
Kelly, Amita. “Fact Check: Was Planned Parenthood Started To ‘Control’ The Black Population?” NPR. August 14, 2015. Accessed May 27, 2018. https://www.npr.org/sections/itsallpolitics/2015/08/14/432080520/fact-check-was-planned-parenthood-started-to-control-the-black-population. This source is an article that features direct quotations from Sanger. It is important because it exposes the racist and eugenicists themes within her writing and ideologies.
Klapper, Melissa R. (August 22, 2014). Ballots, Babies, and Banners of Peace: American Jewish Women’s Activism, 1890–1940. NYU Press. pp. 137–138. This source is a book and it is important because it shows how planned parenthood began.
“Margaret Sanger Biography.” Encyclopedia of World Biography. Accessed May 30, 2018. http://www.notablebiographies.com/Ro-Sc/Sanger-Margaret.html. This source is a Biography on Margaret Sanger. It is important because it gives important details and a new perspective into the life of Margaret Sanger and how she became the person we remember today.
“Margaret Sanger.” Depression-era Soup Kitchens. Accessed May 30, 2018. https://www.u-s-history.com/pages/h1676.html. This source is an article. It is important because it shows how the Comstock laws nearly stopped Sanger’s work, but she was able to escape and continue persevering.
“Margaret Sanger.” Economic Aspects of Euthanasia | The Life Resources Charitable Trust. Accessed May 30, 2018. http://www.life.org.nz/abortion/aboutabortion/historyglobal10/Default.htm. This source is an article. It is important because it shows her social and political activism and involvement.
Margaret Sanger Papers Project. Accessed May 29, 2018. https://sangerpapers.wordpress.com/tag/brownsville-clinic/. This source is an article. It is important because it sheds light on what her first clinic was like and how far she came from then to modern day planned parenthood.
Margaret Sanger, “Birth Control and Racial Betterment,” Feb 1919. Published article. Source: Birth Control Review, Feb. 1919., Library of Congress Microfilm 131:0099B.
“Margaret Sanger.” Biography.com. April 28, 2017. Accessed May 31, 2018. https://www.biography.com/people/margaret-sanger-9471186. This source is a Biography on Margaret Sanger. It is important because it gives important details and a new perspective into the life of Margaret Sanger and how she became the person we remember today
“Newsletter #28 (Fall 2001).” NYU, www.nyu.edu/projects/sanger/articles/bc_or_race_control.php.
“Reflections on Roe: When Margaret Sanger Spoke to the KKK.” The American Spectator. March 15, 2017. Accessed May 23, 2018. https://spectator.org/61552_reflections-roe-when-margaret-sanger-spoke-kkk/. 366-367. This source gives direct quotes from Sanger about her meetings with the women’s branch of the KKK. It is important because it gives input into her views and the racism she allows in order to receive funding.
“Sanger’s First Clinic.” Margaret Sanger Papers Project. November 19, 2010. Accessed May 21, 2018. https://sangerpapers.wordpress.com/2010/10/26/sangers-first-clinic/. This source is an article. It is important because it gives insight into her first clinic and how the struggles she endured in order to continue her work.
Sanger, Margaret. Autobiography (New York: Norton, 1938), p. 13; Katz, Esther, et al., eds, The Selected Papers of Margaret Sanger, Vol. 1: The “Woman Rebel” 1900–1928 (Urbana: Illinois University Press, 2003), pp. 4–5. This source is an Autobiography. It is important because it shows Sanger’s perspective and gives insight into her thoughts.
Sanger, Margaret. 1971. Margaret Sanger: an autobiography. New York: Dover Publications. 366-367. This source is an Autobiography. It is important because it shows Sanger’s perspective and gives insight into her thoughts.
Sanger, Margaret “WHAT EVERY GIRL SHOULD KNOW.” NYU. Accessed May 30, 2018. https://www.nyu.edu/projects/sanger/webedition/app/documents/show.php?sangerDoc=304922.xml This source is an image of a pamphlet given out at Sanger’s clinic. It is important because it gives details and perspective into the specific issues she was tackling at the time and how she was spreading resources.
Sanger, Margaret. “Love or Babies: Must Negro Mothers Choose.” NYU, www.nyu.edu/projects/sanger/webedition/app/documents/show.php?sangerDoc=320905.xml. This source is an article containing quotations. It is important because it shows the racist themes behind a lot of Sanger’s Eugenics work.
“Saynsumthn’s Blog.” Saynsumthns Blog. Accessed May 29, 2018. https://saynsumthn.wordpress.com/tag/leon-whitney/. This source is an article with primary sources. It is important because it connects Sanger’s eugenics works to Hitler and ideologies used within the Holocaust.
Schafft, Gretchen E.From Racism to Genocide: Anthropology in the Third Reich (Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 2004), pp. 48-54.
Tung, Wei-Chen (22 June 2010). “Doing the Month and Asian Cultures: Implications for Health Care”. Home Health Care Management & Practice. 22 (5): 369–371. This is important because it explains shame-based practices surrounding women’s health care.
The New York Times. Accessed May 24, 2018. https://archive.nytimes.com/www.nytimes.com/learning/general/onthisday/bday/0409.html. This source is an article. It is important because it explains the role of Dr. Pincus, the man who created chemical birth control, and his work with Sanger.
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, www.ushmm.org/information/exhibitions/traveling-exhibitions/deadly-medicine. This source is an article. It is important because it connects the tactics used in the Holocaust to similar tactics used by eugenicists.
Wild, Chris. “Early Forms of Birth Control Were Revolutionary but Look Scary.” Mashable. June 07, 2015. Accessed May 30, 2018. https://mashable.com/2015/06/07/early-birth-control/#3lt27KVpvZqp.