WaPo Report: “It Wasn’t Just the National Archives. The Library of Congress Also Balked at a Women’s March Photo”
UPDATE Feb. 4, 2020: Statement: ALA Responds to Concerns About Recent Efforts to Exclude Materials
From The Washington Post:
The Library of Congress abandoned plans last year to showcase a mural-size photograph of demonstrators at the 2017 Women’s March in Washington because of concerns it would be perceived as critical of President Trump, according to emails obtained by The Washington Post.
The massive 14-by-10-foot print of the photograph — showing tens of thousands of demonstrators filling Pennsylvania Avenue NW for the Women’s March on Jan. 21, 2017 — was envisioned by the library as one of the dominant displays of the “Shall Not Be Denied: Women Fight for the Vote” exhibit celebrating the centennial of the women’s right to vote. Instead, the exhibit opened June 4 with that photograph replaced by an image of eight people taking part in a Women’s March in Houston.
The library’s decision is the second-known instance of a federal government institution acting to prevent images it determined to be critical of Trump from being shown to the public. The National Archives said two weeks ago it made a mistake when it blurred out anti-Trump signs from a large photograph, also of the 2017 Women’s March, that it displayed at the entrance of its exhibit on the history of women’s suffrage in the United States. The Archives has since removed the altered image and replaced it with a smaller version of the original.
In an emailed response to questions about why the change was made in the Library of Congress exhibit, spokeswoman April Slayton said that when the enlarged print of Carroll’s photograph was produced, it became clear “that the vulgar language and political content was not appropriate for the Library’s exhibit.” She said profane language was visible on one of the signs and would have been at eye level for children.
About Gary Price
Gary Price (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. He earned his MLIS degree from Wayne State University in Detroit. Price has won several awards including the SLA Innovations in Technology Award and Alumnus of the Year from the Wayne St. University Library and Information Science Program. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com. Gary is also the co-founder of infoDJ an innovation research consultancy supporting corporate product and business model teams with just-in-time fact and insight finding.