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Martin Luther King and Planned Parenthood

Above: Martin Luther King at a press conference in 1964. 

By the time Martin Luther King Jr. had taken his seat in 1960 on Planned Parenthood’s committee on the study of contraception, his views on how artificial birth control could be used to reduce Black family size were well-known throughout the United States. King had been recommended to join the committee by the accomplished and influential Morehouse University sociology professor Walter R. Chivers, who had twice written to his former student (October & November), asking him to become a member. For his part, Chivers had volunteered with the Planned Parenthood Federation of America for sixteen years and vouched for the organization’s “integrity, honesty, and complete lack of racial prejudice.”

On November 5, 1960, Martin Luther King, Jr., wrote back to Professor Chivers, saying:

After giving the matter serious consideration, I am happy to say that it will be possible for me to serve on the sponsoring committee of the new study being made by the Planned Parenthood Federation of America. I must say that the decision was based on your high recommendation of this agency. Of course, I have always been deeply interested in and sympathetic with the total work of the Planned Parenthood Federation so you may feel free to write Miss Snyder concerning my acceptance (emphasis added).

Of course, King had been “deeply interested in and sympathetic with the total work of the Planned Parenthood Federation,” because, as I will explain below, the use of eugenics to reduce the Black population in America had long been the position of much of the Black elite/Black bourgeoisie class since the early 1900s.

Martin Luther King Jr’s close relationship with the Planned Parenthood Federation and his admiration of the work of the famed eugenicist Margaret Sanger, was put on full display when the organization awarded him, along with Dr. Carl G. Hartman, General William H. Draper, Jr., and President Lyndon Baines Johnson, with their inaugural Margaret Sanger award; given “to individuals of distinction in recognition of excellence and leadership in furthering reproductive health and reproductive rights.” For “his courageous resistance to bigotry and his lifelong dedication to the advancement of social justice and human dignity,” his wife Corretta Scott King accepted the award on his behalf on May 5, 1966, and in the speech written by award reception, Martin Luther King gives Sanger’s eugenics and ‘Negro Project’ the credit for the success of the ‘non-violent’ civil rights movement:

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.

In 1966, this was a well-developed position by Martin Luther King Jr., which, again, was grounded in where his peers in Sigma Pi Phi and other Black bourgeoisie educators and physicians would have also held at that time and still today. Yet, in this ‘Advice for Living’ column published by Ebony Magazine in 1957, King demonstrates his thoughts in continuity with the Black bourgeoisie on the necessity of the use of artificial contraception to reduce the Black American population; calling it, “rationally and morally justifiable”:

Question: We have seven children and another one is on the way. Our four-room apartment is bursting at the seams and living space in Harlem is at a premium. I have suggested to my husband that we practice birth control, but he says that when God thinks we have enough children, He will put a stop to it. I’ve tried to reason with him, but he says that birth control is sinful. Is he right?

Martin Luther King Jr’s AnswerI do not think it is correct to argue that birth control is sinful. It is a serious mistake to suppose that it is a religious act to allow nature to have its way in the sex life. The truth is that the natural order is given us, not as an absolute finality, but as something to be guided and controlled. In the case of birth control the real question at issue is that between rational control and resort to chance. Another thing that must be said is that changes in social and economic conditions make smaller families desirable, if not necessary. As you suggest, the limited quarters available in our large cities and the high cost of living preclude such large families as were common a century or so ago. A final consideration is that women must be considered as more than “breeding machines.” It is true that the primary obligation of the woman is that of motherhood, but an intelligent mother wants it to be a responsible motherhood—a motherhood to which she has given her consent, not a motherhood due to impulse and to chance. And this means birth control in some form. All of these factors, seem to me, to make birth control rationally and morally justifiable (emphasis added).

As a final proof of evidence that Martin Luther King Jr., was an artificial-contraception eugenicist, we find in an undated letter to a ‘Mr. Hawkins,’ King writes:

It is true that illegitimate birth rates are higher among Negroes than Whites, as is born out in recent surveys and studies. Consequentially, I have often, both publically and privately advocated the wider use of birth control methods in order to reduce the illegitimacy races and the consequences. It is my hope that federal and state governments will begin to appropriate large sums to educate people to the need for such devices (emphasis added).

King’s Violence Against Women

It would not be until three months after Martin Luther King Jr’s assassination that Pope Paul VI would promulgate his encyclical Humanae Vitae in which he rightly prophesied that some of the consequences of artificial contraception would be:

This course of action could open wide the way for marital infidelity and a general lowering of moral standards.

Young, who are so exposed to temptation—need incentives to keep the moral law, and it is an evil thing to make it easy for them to break that law.

Man who grows accustomed to the use of contraceptive methods may forget the reverence due to a woman, and, disregarding her physical and emotional equilibrium, reduce her to being a mere instrument for the satisfaction of his own desires, no longer considering her as his partner whom he should surround with care and affection.

While I appreciate the hopeful idea that we can compartmentalize Martin Luther King Jr’s belief in artificial contraception eugenics, the fact of the matter is that King himself did not make that distinction. On the contrary, as is proven by his own words, he viewed artificial contraception as a vital component of the Civil Rights Movement and Margaret Sanger as a progenitor of that same movement.

Moreover, we cannot wholly dismiss the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) wiretapped evidence about Martin Luther King Jr., which demonstrates a long record of the Civil Rights leader participating in adultery, rapes, solicitation of prostitutes, and orgies with women. This affirms that King became the very man that Pope Paul VI prophesied that contraception believing men like him would be. Certainly, when it comes to ethics and motives, the FBI does not have the best interests of all Americans, but that does not invalidate what their (arguably unconstitutional) wiretaps reveal about who Martin Luther King Jr. was when he thought that he was outside of public scrutiny.

Margaret Sanger and the Black Bourgeoisie

One of the myths in the historical grievance litany that is passed down in the Black American community is that everything bad that has happened to Blacks is because of racist White Americans. That myth is supported by an entire web of lies, rewritten history, victim narratives, federal laws and programs, scholarships, college courses, and even a federal holiday called Martin Luther King Jr. Day to keep the grievance alive and well. Yet, the fact of the matter is that the greatest harm done to Black Americans has almost always come at the hands of other Black Americans.

Even if we were to blow up the historical grievance at its root, that it was the elites of various West African states who captured and sold their own people – their undesirables, debtors, and prisoners – to the European slave wholesalers; a practice throughout Africa, which was not different than practiced throughout the world, we find something consistent with the pattern – that it is Blacks who harm Blacks at equal or greater rates than those other races harm Blacks, and they have profited by the betrayal. Therefore, when we come to Margaret Sanger’s recruitment of the Black bourgeoisie’s educators, medical professionals, and preachers to evangelize artificial contraception eugenics to Black Americans, it fits neatly into the well-established pattern.

Any Black American reading the Negro Planned Parenthood Pamphlet from 1940 would have been immensely impressed with all of the Black bourgeoisie present from Sigma Pi Phi, Jack & Jill of America, Greek Letter fraternity and sororities, Urban League, the National Association of the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), academics from the Historical Black Colleges & Universities, and medical professions. The members of Negro Service Division (Negro Advisory Council of the Negro Project) of the Birth Control Federation of America that Margaret Sanger was able to round up was truly impressive. It was the ‘Who’s Who’ of Black America in 1940; that included:

  • Claude A. Barnett, American journalist, publisher, entrepreneur, philanthropist, civic activist, Pan-Africanist, and founder of the Associated Negro Press (Chicago, IL)
  • Mary Jane McLeod Bethune, American educator, philanthropist, humanitarian, womanist, and civil rights activist (Washington, D.C.)
  • Dr. Midian Othello Bousfield, a leader in Chicago’s insurance industry, first black person promoted to the rank of colonel in the Army Medical Corps (Chicago, IL)
  • Frank Rudolph Crosswaith, socialist, trade union organizer in New York City, founded and chaired the Negro Labor Committee (New York)
  • John Warren Davis, 5th President of West Virginia State University (West Virginia)
  • Alfred W. Dent, Superintendent, Flint-Goodridge Hospital of Dillard University, New Orleans, LA (New Orleans, LA)
  • Crystal Bird Fauset, civil rights activist, social worker, race relations specialist, and the first female African American state legislator elected in the United States (Philadelphia, PA)
  • Dorothy Celeste Boulding Ferebee, obstetrician, civil rights activist, President of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. (Washington, D.C.)
  • Albon L. Holsey, Executive Secretary of the National Negro Business League (Tuskegee Institute, Alabama)
  • Dr. Charles D. Hubert, Acting President/Director of School of Religion Morehouse College (Atlanta, GA)
  • Charles S. Johnson, American sociologist and college administrator, the first Black president of historically Black Fisk University (Nashville, TN)
  • Eugene Kinckle Jones, Executive Secretary of the National Urban League and one of the seven founders (commonly referred to as Seven Jewels) of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity at Cornell University in 1906. Jones became Alpha chapter’s second President (New York, N.Y.)
  • Frederick D. Patterson, President, Tuskegree Institute (Alabama)
  • Rev. Adam Clayton Powell Jr., American Baptist pastor, United States House of Representatives from 1945 until 1971, first Black American to be elected to Congress from any state in the Northeast (New York City, N.Y.)
  • Ira De Augustine Reid, sociologist, American Youth Commission (Washington, D.C.)
  • Mabel Keaton Staupers, Executive Secretary, National Association of Colored Graduate Nurses (New York City, N.Y.)
  • Jesse O. Thomas, Southern Field Director, National Urban League (Atlanta, GA)
  • Channing Heggie Tobias, President’s Committee on Civil Rights, Senior Secretary, Colored Work Department, National Council Y.M.C.A. (New York City, N.Y.)
  • Forrester Blanchard Washington, Director, Atlanta School of Social Work (Atlanta, GA)
  • Walter Francis White, National Associate for the Advancement of Colored People (Atlanta, GA)
  • Max Yergan, communist, Baptist missionary, President of National Negro Congress (New York City, N.Y.)
  • ALSO: Walter Maddux, M.D. (Slossfield Heath Center), Mrs. John Hope, and Michael Bent, M.D. (Meharry Medical School)

The importance and symbolism of gathering together many of the ‘Who’s Who’ of the Black elite was to send a clear message to the lower class Blacks that Margaret Sanger and the Negro Birth Control Project was trustworthy. In seeking their much-needed White approval and White Acceptance, the Black bourgeoisie had just coalesced together to lead Black America to the slaughter and it would continue to today.

According to ‘The Margaret Sanger Papers Project,’ the ‘Negro Project’ was

a project of the Extension Department, in cooperation with the Medical, Public Information, and Regional Organizations Departments. The Negro Project was supervised by a special committee that included Margaret Sanger, Mary Lasker, and Clarence Gamble. It was guided by a national Negro Advisory Council comprised of representatives of 25 major black organizations and universities and included many prominent black leaders. With the help of local community organizations, the Negro Project assembled clinical data to influence the adoption of clinics and contraceptive techniques, primarily in the black communities of the South. The Negro Project managed two demonstration projects in Nashville, Tennessee, and Berkeley County, South Carolina.

The selective breeding applied science under the term ‘eugenics’ was coined by British biologist, Francis Galton, in 1883 by taking the roots of the Greek words for “good” and “origin.” By the 1920s and 1930s, eugenics found its footing in the United States and was adopted by mainstream scientists, doctors, and the general public. While eugenics was primarily concerned with advocating for childbearing among the ‘fit’ classes and discouraging and suppressing childbearing among the ‘inferior stock’, the contribution of Margaret Sanger was advocating for the use of artificial birth control to promote eugenics among poor populations in the United States; saying in 1920 that “birth control is nothing more or less than the facilitation of the process of weeding out the unfit [and] of preventing the birth of defectives.”

It is a misunderstanding of motives that leads some to conclude that Margaret Sanger was a racist and that it was her racism against Blacks that drove her passion for eugenics. On the contrary, what drove Sanger’s passion for eugenics was something as equally as sinister; it was her passion for elitism and imperialism. Her passion to weed out the unfit among all those beneath her is evidenced by a November 12, 1939 letter to American advertising legend and eugenics philanthropist Albert D. Lasker, in which she writes:

You are quite right in assuming that poor white people down South are not much better off than the Negroes, but there has been at least a start in several states to help the poor whites and as there is not sufficient time for a nurse, nor the materials left over, for the Negroes, they are just left out of the service in most of the states. that is why I was anxious to have a special fund directed for the Negroes and you have been good enough to meet that need.

It was the belief of Margaret Sanger that there were not adequate resources among Whites to help reduce the population of undesirable Blacks that she sought to recruit influential Black Americans to execute her artificial birth control eugenics plot. On December 10, 1939, she wrote to Dr. Clarence James Gamble about why the Negro Project in the south was so important. Dr. Gamble was an American doctor and the heir of the Procter and Gamble soap company fortune. Aside from his access to wealth, for Sanger’s purposes, Gamble was also a passionate advocate of birth control and eugenics and founded Pathfinder International in 1957 to be a worldwide eugenics sponsor. In the letter Sanger writes to Dr. Gamble in the following words:

Miss Rose sent me a copy of your letter of December 5th and I note that you doubt it worthwhile to employ a full-time Negro physician. It seems to me from my experience where I have been in North Carolina, Georgia, Tennesee, and Texas, that while the colored Negroes have great respect for white doctors they can get closer to their own members and more or less lay their cards on the table which means their ignorance, superstitions, and doubts. They do not do this with the white people and if we can train the Negro doctor at the Clinic he can go among them with enthusiasm and with knowledge, which, I believe, will have far-reaching results among the colored people. His work in my opinion should be entire with the Negro profession and the nurses, hospital, social workers, as well as the County’s white doctors. His success will depend upon his personality and his training by us.

The minister’s work is also important and also he should be trained, perhaps by the Federation as to our ideals and the goal that we hope to reach. 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 (emphasis added).

Prior to writing to Dr. Gamble, Margaret Sanger outlined in a letter to a Mrs. Damon, who she called ‘Cele’ on November 24, 1939, about finding recruits at the Historical Black Colleges & Universities, and how they are to spend a year to evangelize eugenics in the Black communities.

In Consideration of the Whole

When we find Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., in those aforementioned spaces of 1957, 1960, and 1966, evangelizing the benefits and the need for birth control eugenics in the Black community, we have to consider him in the body of work begun by Margaret Sanger in the 1930s to identify, train, pay, and use Black Americans to destroy Black America – to use the Black bourgeoisie class to exterminate the Black poor class.

This is not the space to examine the critical need that early 20th century Black Americans had for White approval and White acceptance, but it suffices to say that nothing is more important for the Black bourgeoisie class than to imitate the White bourgeoisie class in America in every convincible way.

Neither is there space here to examine the relationship between the eugenics movement, the Democrat Party of America, and the pseudo-religion type of dependence and allegiance that the vast majority of Black Americans have to the Democrat Party, but it suffices to say that the Democrats have faithfully carried out the Negro Project tactic of identifying, training, paying and using Black Americans to keep the lower classes in line. From Rev. Adam Clayton Powell Jr. to Jesse Jackson Sr. to Barack Obama to Kamala Harris; all of whom are eugenicists, members of the Black bourgeoisie, and ministers of the Democrat pseudo-religion.

Therefore, we do not dismiss the harm that Martin Luther King Jr. unleashed upon the Black community by his marrying the social Civil Rights movement with maternal and prenatal harm, but we must consider him within the framework of a whole demonic horn in the continuing legacy of the Negro Project that is still alive and well in America.


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