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article imageOp-Ed: Government agency blurs anti-Trump messages in exhibit picture

By Karen Graham     Jan 18, 2020 in Politics
Washington - Visitors to the National Archives will have to fill in the blanks after officials there altered a photo of a women's rights march that took place one day after the 2017 inauguration of President Donald Trump.
The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom was held on January 21, 2017, the day after the inauguration of President Donald Trump. While around 220,000 women had originally signed up to join the march, it ended up being the largest single-day protest in U.S. history, with an estimated 500,000 women protesting in Washington and over 2.5 million around the rest of the country.
According to organizers, the goal was to "send a bold message to our new administration on their first day in office, and to the world that women's rights are human rights," reported
"We want to ensure that this country knows women are not happy," co-founder Tamika Mallory said. "And when we get angry, change happens. We make things happen. This effort is not anti-Trump," Mallory said. "This is pro-women. This is a continuation of a struggle women have been dealing with for a very long time. In this moment, we are connecting and being as loud as possible."
The "March for Life" takes place after millions rallied in women-led protests across the U...
The "March for Life" takes place after millions rallied in women-led protests across the US to warn President Donald Trump not to attack freedoms, including abortion
Joshua LOTT, AFP/File
There was a lot of anti-Trump sentiment expressed on many of the signs carried by protesters, perhaps with good reason. Many women were offended by the new president's remarks about women while on the campaign trail, as well as the 2005 Access Hollywood video that was released by the Washington Post in October 2016.
In the video, referring to beautiful women, Trump says: “You know I’m automatically attracted to beautiful—I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything.” He adds, "Grab them by the p-----."
So, many women in the Washington march expressed their anger at the new president, with signs. By the way, the march was very peaceful, as were the marches held all across the United States and the world that day.
More than 500 000 people rallied and marched for women s rights and against President Donald Trump i...
More than 500,000 people rallied and marched for women's rights and against President Donald Trump in Washington, DC on January 21, 2017.
Mobilus in Mobili (CC BY-SA 2.0)
The National Archives blurs history
In celebration of the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, the National Archives opened a featured exhibit in the Museum's Lawrence F. O'Brien Gallery - called Rightfully Hers: American Women and the Vote
The 49-by-69-inch photograph contrasts the large-scale march to a 1913 image of a women's suffrage march. The image - a reproduction of the photograph taken by Mario Tama for Getty Images appears to have something wrong with it. The signs held by protesters who were critical of Donald Trump have been altered.
Among the alterations is the blurring of the word “Trump” on a placard that reads “God Hates Trump” and the blurring of the same word in another sign that reads “Trump & GOP — Hands Off Women.” Words on other signs referencing female anatomy were also altered.
Women Marching in Suffragette Parade  Washington  DC; 3/3/1913.
Women Marching in Suffragette Parade, Washington, DC; 3/3/1913.
National Archives Identifier: 24520426
And according to Slate, The word “vagina” has been blurred from a sign that reads, “If my vagina could shoot bullets, it’d be less REGULATED” while the word “pussy” has been removed from a sign that reads, “This Pussy Grabs Back.”
The National Archives responded to altering what is considered a piece of American history. “As a non-partisan, non-political federal agency, we blurred references to the President’s name on some posters, so as not to engage in current political controversy,” Archives spokeswoman Miriam Kleiman said in an emailed statement.
“Our mission is to safeguard and provide access to the nation’s most important federal records, and our exhibits are one way in which we connect the American people to those records. Modifying the image was an attempt on our part to keep the focus on the records"
The Archives also added that they removed words referencing women's genitals because they have students visiting the exhibits. The Archives was sure to note that David Ferriero, the archivist who was appointed by then-President Barack Obama in 2009, supported the decision.
General Dwight Eisenhower and other high ranking U.S. Army officers view the bodies of prisoners who...
General Dwight Eisenhower and other high ranking U.S. Army officers view the bodies of prisoners who were killed during the evacuation of Ohrdruf, while on a tour of the newly liberated concentration camp. Photo taken: April 12, 1945
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
"There's no reason for the National Archives to ever digitally alter a historic photograph," Rice University historian Douglas Brinkley said. "If they don't want to use a specific image, then don't use it. But to confuse the public is reprehensible. The head of the Archives has to very quickly fix this damage. A lot of history is messy, and there are zero reasons why the Archives can't be upfront about a photo from a women's march."
I really have to agree with Brinkly. History is not always pretty, in fact, most history is embarrassing to later generations and is quite often, objectionable to many. I'm thinking about the images from the death camps taken at the end of WWII - or the image of the naked child running down a road in Vietnam with napalm burns covering parts of her body.
But history is also a teaching moment in time. It lets us know what was happening, and yes, it also tells a story, the people's story as seen through the eyes of the photographer. The National Archives needs to correct its mistake,
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
More about National archives, 2017 inauguration, women's march, antitrump messages, reprehensible
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