Juneteenth: A First Step in Saving African-American Lives

By Alisha Woodall

“For every 100 black babies born, there are 77 black babies killed by abortion. That gives us a fertility rate of 1.9%, which means that it takes 2.1% to continue a race and replace the ones present who naturally die. We are not even at replacement value, and as a race that’s not a comfortable place to be.” – Dr. Freda Bush, OBGYN

To understand how we got to this today, we have to take a look back, which is fitting with Juneteenth right around the corner, a holiday celebrated to commemorate the abolition of slavery in the U.S. Juneteenth (short for “June Nineteenth”) marks the day when federal troops arrived in Galveston, Texas, in 1865 to take control of the state and ensure that all enslaved people be freed. This occurred a full two and a half years after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation. For many African Americans, June 19 is considered an independence day. I used the well-researched and highly professional documentary, Maafa 21, as my primary resource, while also finding other documents to support their research. I warn you, this isn’t pretty. 

What do Charles Darwin, Margaret Sanger and Adolf Hitler have in common?

After slavery was abolished in 1865, many feared how the release of nearly four million uneducated slaves would affect the economy and “racial purity.” Just six years previous in 1859, Charles Darwin published his book which gave rise to the theory of evolution. The original title was On The Origin Of Species By Means Of Natural Selection Or The Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life. Darwin’s cousin, Francis Galton, was heavily influenced by Darwin’s theories, and put them into practice, coining the term “eugenics” in 1883. Eugenics is defined as the science of improving a population by controlled breeding to increase the occurrence of desirable, heritable characteristics. Galton’s eugenics and Darwin’s evolution both considered the highest form of primates, like the gorilla, as almost indistinguishable from what they considered the lowest form of humans, the African American.

The American Birth Control League was founded in 1921 by eugenicist, Margaret Sanger, and became the driving force behind the American Eugenics movement. Here are some of the horrific quotes found in Sanger’s newsletter, The Birth Control Review: “Too many negroes are born yearly,” “We are paying for and even submitting to the dictates of an ever increasing unceasingly spawning class of human beings who never should have been born at all,” “In virtually every community where Negroes dwell, one finds them in fat times and lean alike contributing a disproportionate number to the rolls of the dependents and delinquents. They make excessive demands on the white man’s charity and overtax his patience.”

Since World War II, it has been well-documented that Adolf Hitler was profoundly influenced by the American Eugenics movement and that many of his government’s racial policies were actually developed from the writings of American eugenicists. In fact, Hitler referred to Madison Grant’s book, The Passing of the Great Race, as his bible. Eugen Fischer, who heavily influenced the creation of the Holocaust’s concentration camps was invited by Margaret Sanger to be a keynote speaker at a population conference she organized.

‘The Pill’ can be hard to swallow.

With the onset of World War II, terms like “eugenics” and “control” were no longer palatable to the American public, so in 1942 the American Birth Control League changed its name to Planned Parenthood. A modern blueprint for the eugenics movement that we still see in the U.S. today came from Gunnar Myrdal’s An American Dilemma The Negro Problem and Modern Democracy published in 1944 by Harper and Brothers Publishers, whose president, Cass Canfield, later became the President of Planned Parenthood. One quote from the book reads, “The only possible way of decreasing Negro population is by means of controlling fertility.” 

In a letter written to Katharine Dexter McCormick in 1950, Margaret Sanger said, “I consider that the world and almost our civilization for the next 25 years, is going to depend upon a simple, cheap, safe contraceptive to be used in poverty-stricken slums, jungles, and among the most ignorant people. Even this will not be sufficient, because I believe that now, immediately, there should be national sterilization for certain dysgenic types of our population who are being encouraged to breed and would die out were the government not feeding them.” McCormick inherited a large sum of money, and from 1953 until her death in 1967 donated almost $2 million ($20 million today) into the development of the birth control pill.

Since Roe v. Wade in 1973, abortion has killed more African Americans than AIDS, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and violent crime combined. The abortion industry kills as many African American people every four days as the KKK killed in 150 years. In 1973, Frederick Osborn, a founding member of the American Eugenics Society said, “Birth control and abortion are turning out to be the great eugenic advances of our time.” Statistics from the CDC show prior to the legalization of abortion, approximately 80% of illegal abortions were on white women, but when abortion became legal, that began to reverse, and that’s why the legalization was so crucial for the eugenics movement. Legalization created the ability to market abortion in the black community, and today, 79% of Planned Parenthood’s surgical abortion facilities are located within walking distance of minority neighborhoods. 

Be a difference maker.

I don’t want to leave you hopeless or in despair, but to motivate you to be a difference maker. The story doesn’t have to end this way. We can change what the eugenicists and Margaret Sanger set in motion over a century ago. You have been informed, and now equipped with some tools, but you have to use them to be a difference maker. We believe all people are equal and all lives are sacred. You can help make abortion unwanted today and unthinkable for future generations by what you say and do!

  • Pray daily for an end to abortion, for hope and healing of those involved in abortion, and pray to be used to save and change lives through your words and actions. “The defense of the unborn is, in fact, the civil rights movement of today, and all we do in the pro-life movement must be sustained by prayer.”  – Alveda King,  niece of Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • Speak up boldly, particularly to those targeted by the abortion industry. Work as much as you can to get all voices of society, government, parents, schools, and faith-based organizations to work together towards the goal of changing the worldview on abortion. Promote a pro-life, family-friendly environment in the workplace, in your conversations, in your organization’s communications, and through your employee policies.
  • Affirm every child as a welcomed child. Congratulate every pregnant mother (and father) you know or even casually encounter. Never imply that more children will be a burden. We must all reevaluate our judgments and upbringings that may place us in the prideful mode of believing some people have no business reproducing, when the truth is all people are equal. This is what being pro-life truly looks like.
  • Ask your pastor to preach on life and abortion. “In my opinion, the first thing that needs to happen is for the clergy to start bringing this up on Sunday morning from the pulpit at church. It’s going to take a strong conversation to not be seen as a taboo subject. The entire Christian community, both the blacks and whites, need to place the abortion issue in the forefront of discussion. It’s not going to work if it only comes from one direction, it’s got to be a unilateral call to change from all Christians.” – Rev. Lonnie Newman, Brown Chapel AME Church, Maypearl, TX
  • Support FirstLook, Ellis County’s only pregnancy help center, by investing your time through volunteering or investing financially. Roughly 16% of FirstLook’s clients in 2020 were African American. The problem is being addressed in your community, but the harvest is ripe and the workers are few. One special African American client described her experience at FirstLook. “I was actually looking for an abortion clinic, and FirstLook popped up. I went in thinking that’s what it was, and the sweet lady was like, ‘No honey, that is an option, but there are other options.’ Sometimes you want to hear from God, but He uses other people. And so it was a good time where He used somebody else to confirm what I already knew; I was just scared to take that step to go ahead and have my child. I busted out crying! And she was like, ‘It’s going to be okay. You can do this.’ Sometimes you got to hear you can do it. And when she said it, I actually believed her.”

For more information on how you can make a difference in Ellis County, contact FirstLook at 972.938.7900 or alisha@firstlookcenter.org. To watch the Maafa 21: Black Genocide in 21st Century America documentary, go to www.maafa21.com/watch/.

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