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Mount Rushmore Historian: Monument 'Is Like A Rorschach, It Says Different Things To Different People'

Historians in the News
tags: Native American history, monuments, White Supremacy, Mount Rushmore



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Sculptor and artist Gutzon Borglum created the 60-foot-high sculpture between 1927 and 1941. Borglum, who was responsible for the Confederate monument in Georgia's Stone Mountain, had ties with the Ku Klux Klan, says John Taliaferro, author of “Great White Fathers: The True Story of Gutzon Borglum and His Obsessive Quest to Create the Mt. Rushmore National Monument.”

Taliaferro says Borglum was “cozy” with the American white supremacist hate group.

“He was very coy about his Klan connections. He would claim that he wasn't a member,” Taliaferro says. “But like our president today, he did not hesitate to say there are some good people in the Klan. He was on Klan councils. He met with them. He had lots of friends with them.”

It’s something the National Park Service and Mount Rushmore have tried to keep under wraps, he says, because Borglum’s ties to the Klan don’t fit within the narrative of “hardworking artisans, who were determined and tough and polyglot, building this great memorial to our American civilization.”

Additionally, Native Americans say the sculpture is a desecration of their sacred lands. The Lakota Sioux in North and South Dakota have long said the land has been stolen from them.

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Read entire article at WBUR

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