Friday, March 31, 2023
Opinion Page: Audubon-NYC’s name change is cowardly way to avoid facing its heritage
From the NY Post, March 26, 2023
The city chapter of the Audubon Society is changing its name to disassociate itself from the darker aspects of John James Audubon’s legacy. Count it as one more foolish effort to erase history rather than confront or understand it.
Audubon’s “harmful and offensive” views “and actions toward black people and Indigenous people” created a “barrier to entry for many into the organization,” the society claims. Really? Yes, the man behind the landmark “Birds of America,” and discoverer of 25 avian species, was born into a slave-owning family and himself criticized the fight for emancipation.
But belief in eugenics was rampant among early conservationists, with figures such as Gifford Pinchot, Irving Fisher, President Teddy Roosevelt and others promoting the noxious ideas associated with the movement, such as the sterilization of the poor or disabled.
John James Audubon