A “racism task force” charged with updating the National Archives — home of the nation’s founding documents — reportedly blasted the term used to characterize the Constitution, Declaration of Independence, and the Bill of Rights, “Charters of Freedom,” because the documents did not immediately guarantee freedom for everyone.
According to Fox News, which obtained a recording of one of the task force’s meetings through the Freedom of Information Act, members of the task force decried the term “charters of freedom” and demanded that the nation’s founding documents be relabeled on the website and the slogan removed from the documents’ physical display in the National Archives Rotunda.
“Approximately 800 National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) employees from across the country attended a town hall meeting of the Archives’ Task Force on Racism on May 11,” Fox News noted. “During the presentation, a museum subgroup recommended that NARA ‘retire’ the term ‘charters of freedom’ as descriptors for the U.S. Constitution, Bill of Rights and Declaration of Independence.”
“We should retire the term charters of freedom and remove it from our web pages, publications and exhibits because, as we learned, these documents did not result in freedom for everyone,” one task force member is recorded as saying.
Another said that the labels and other references to “freedom” should be removed in order to “ensure that everyone feels welcomed, included and represented at our museums and presidential libraries.”
“We never want our exhibits, programs or educational materials to make people feel alienated or excluded,” a presenter added.
As The Daily Wire reported previously, the same National Archives’ task force also blasted the building’s Rotunda, which they called an example of “structural racism” because of its frescoes depicting America’s founding and because the narrative of the Founding Father’s efforts was “too positive.” The group suggested “major changes” to the Rotunda’s displays so that visitors could view the nation’s founding documents “in context.”
The documents themselves, the group suggested, should have “trigger warnings” for individuals who might suffer from “physiological and psychological symptoms” after viewing the Declaration of Independence, Constitution, and Bill of Rights.
“Providing an advisory notice to users gives us an opportunity to mitigate harm and contextualize the records..It creates a space to share with the public our ultimate goals for reparative description, demonstrate our commitment to the process, and address any barriers that we may face in achieving these goals (i.e., the size and scope of the Catalog and the ever-evolving knowledge we gain regarding what is harmful).”
The National Archives appears to have recently implemented that last recommendation. As The Daily Wire reported earlier this week, a note marking the documents as potentially containing “harmful language” now hovers over the National Archives’ digital copies of the Constitution, Declaration of Independence, Bill of Rights, and other historical documents.
“The Catalog and web pages contain some content that may be harmful or difficult to view,” NARA said in a statement released at the end of July. “NARA’s records span the history of the United States, and it is our charge to preserve and make available these historical records. As a result, some of the materials presented here may reflect outdated, biased, offensive, and possibly violent views and opinions. In addition, some of the materials may relate to violent or graphic events and are preserved for their historical significance.”
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