FACT CHECK: Does This Photo Show Margaret Sanger Speaking To The KKK?

Aryssa Damron | Fact Check Reporter

An image shared on Facebook purportedly shows Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger being saluted by the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) in 1926.

Verdict: False

While Sanger did speak to a women’s chapter of the KKK, this is a photoshopped image.

Fact Check:

This picture attempts to cast Sanger, an early proponent of birth control, as an icon of racism and the KKK. (RELATED: Does This Photo Show ‘Women Of The Democrat Party’ In KKK Robes?)

She did once speak before a women’s chapter of the KKK, saying in her autobiography that “any aroused group was a good group.” However, this image does not capture that visit – the picture has been doctored.

The original photo, tracked down by Snopes in 2015, shows KKK members saluting a cross, not Sanger. The superimposed image of Sanger is from 1931, taken before she testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

In Sanger’s autobiography, she describes the speaking engagement with the women’s chapter in detail, calling it “one of the weirdest experiences I had in lecturing.”

“Never before had I looked into a sea of faces like these,” she wrote. “I was sure that if I uttered one word, such as abortion, outside the usual vocabulary of these women they would go off into hysteria. And so my address that night had to be in the most elementary terms, as though I were trying to make children understand.”

The image shared on Facebook claims that Sanger “described her experience with elation” and then quotes from the autobiography, yet the tone of her account was not particularly flattering.

The meme does accurately quote one excerpt from the book: “In the end, through simple illustrations I believed I had accomplished my purpose. A dozen invitations to speak to similar groups were proffered.” (It excludes the phrase “through simple illustrations,” however.)

The doctored image appears to have originated with an art contest. Hosted online by an anti-Sanger website, participants were asked to recreate the lecture she gave before the KKK chapter in “unique artistic ways.”

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Aryssa Damron

Fact Check Reporter

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