The Seattle chapter of the National Audubon Society has a new logo, at least for now: an elegant yellow bird, a pelagic cormorant to be exact, with a paintbrush in its beak and the word “Audubon” crossed out.
It marks a new era for the bird-watching and conservation group. Pointing to the racist actions and beliefs of its namesake, John James Audubon, the local organization announced that it will change its name to better reflect its mission and values.
“The shameful legacy of the real John James Audubon, not the mythologized version, is antithetical to the mission of this organization and its values,” said Claire Catania, executive director of the Seattle chapter, in a statement.
“Knowing what we now know and hearing from community members how the Audubon name is harmful to our cause, there is no other choice but to change,” she said.
Aubudon was an artist and ornithologist whose extensive collection of watercolor illustrations depicting North American avian life made him a celebrated figure in the nature community.
He also enslaved people, rejected the abolition movement and stole Indigenous human remains, sending them to a colleague who used the skulls to assert that white people were superior to all other races.