Published: Sun, January 19, 2020
Global News | By Blake Casey

National Archives apologizes for blurring anti-Trump Women's March images

National Archives apologizes for blurring anti-Trump Women's March images

On Friday, The Washington Post published a story about the Archive's "Rightfully Hers: American Women and the Vote", exhibit that featured a photo from the 2017 Women's March, held the day after President Donald Trump was inaugurated.

The photo, taken by Getty Images photographer Mario Tama, shows a huge crowd of people gathering in Washington for the 2017 Women's March, which took place the day after Mr Trump's inauguration.

The exhibit about the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote, blurred some anti-Trump messages on protest signs in a photo of the 2017 Women's March in Washington.

"As the National Archives of the United States, we are and have always been completely committed to preserving our archival holdings, without adjustment", the independent agency in charge of the preservation of government and historical records said on Twitter Saturday.

The display will be removed, the National Archives said, and replaced with one featuring the unedited image as soon as possible.

An Archive spokesperson told the Post that it had altered the photo "so as not to engage in current political controversy", and to make sure the exhibits were appropriate for children.

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Wendy Kline, a history professor at Purdue University, said it was disturbing that the Archives chose to edit out the words "va***a" and "p***y" from an image of the Women's March, especially when it was part of an exhibit about the suffragist movement. Viewed from another angle, it shifts to show a 1913 black-and-white image of a women's suffrage march also on Pennsylvania Avenue. "Nonetheless, we were wrong to alter the image", it said.

But ACLU Deputy Legal Director Louise Melling said in a statement that their apology is "not enough".

What's interesting is that the decision to "Photoshop" the signs was reportedly made during the development of the exhibit by a team that included David S. Ferriero, the Obama-appointed head of the National Archives.

The National Archives told the newspaper it obscured the references to women's genitals because the museum gets a lot of young visitors and the words could be seen as inappropriate. The public affairs office at the archives e-mailed the statement.

On Saturday, women's marches were planned in more than 180 USA cities, though turnout was lower than in previous years.

Rudy Mehrbani, senior counsel at the Brennan Center for Justice, tweeted that the National Archives "created political controversy in attempting to avoid it". But while the photo shows the thousands of demonstrators who showed up in Washington, D.C., many in protest of Trump's presidency, it obscured some key details.

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