For decades NPR’s Morning Edition has read the Declaration of Independence on July 4th. But this year, the reading came with a content warning. This sparked outrage after the public radio system said America’s founding document was rife with “flaws and hypocrisies.”
The show hosts opened the segment by addressing the racial protests that engulfed much of the nation last summer. Following the police killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, they said, the document’s words land “different.” But this new reinterpretation has caused a fierce backlash.
“It famously declares “that all men are created equal” even though women, enslaved people, and Indigenous Americans were not held as equal at the time,” the hosts said.
A racial slur toward Native Americans remained in the document throughout several revisions. However, Congress removed a line about “Scotch & foreign mercenaries” because many members of the Continental Congress had Scottish ancestry.
‘The declaration is a document with flaws and deeply ingrained hypocrisies. It also lays the foundation for our collective aspirations, our hopes for what America could be.”
The discussion split NPR’s audience, with many applauding the move. While others felt it unfair to read a 245-year-old document with a modern interpretation.
Lavern Spicer, a Congressional candidate in Florida, called to #DefundNPR.
“Today is a great day for America to declare its independence from NPR which is currently attacking our Constitution. Why should we pay for them to express hatred against us?” she tweeted.
However, author Keith Boykin said America must address its past.
“The Declaration of Independence described Indigenous people as “merciless Indian Savages” and claimed “all men are created equal” while allowing slavery. And people want to Defund NPR (whatever that means) for saying the document was flawed and hypocritical. Welcome to America,” he tweeted.
Woman Finds Declaration of Independence in Attic
A Scottish woman named Cathy Marsden was looking through some paperwork in her attic when she came across an old document. She told PA Media that even at first glance the document seemed unique.
That’s because it was a 245-year-old copy of the Declaration of Independence. It’s one of just 48 of William Stone’s 201 copies of the document left in existence, historians believe.
To make it even more valuable, Marsden was able to track the provenance of this Declaration of Independence. It originally belonged to Charles Caroll, a Founding Father and signer of the Declaration. He passed it on to John MacTavish, his grandson-in-law who was a Scottish-Canadian diplomat, PA Media said.
Having that information made the document even more valuable, Paul Roberts, vice-chairman of Lyon & Turnbull and president of Freeman’s in Philadelphia, said.
Marsden auctioned her Declaration of Independence for $4,420,000, according to TMZ. That makes it the second most expensive Declaration of Independence ever sold. Famed Hollywood producer Norman Lear and investor David Hayden bought an original printing $8 million in 2000, CNN reported.