The National Audubon Society is re-examining and confronting the racist and slave-owning past of its namesake.
The non-profit environmental organization, dedicated to the conservation of birds and other wildlife, was founded in 1905 and named in honor of Franco-American ornithologist John James Audubon.
Audubon is perhaps most famous for illustrating birds in their natural habitats and publishing his book, Birds of America, as a series in sections between 1827 and 1838.
But an often glossed-over part of Audubon's history is that he owned many slaves, sold them to others and saw black and indigenous people as being inferior to white people.
In a magazine piece, the Society says it plans to speak out and condemn Audubon's past, publish a new biography including his 'ethical failings' and highlight other founders of the organization.
The National Audubon Society, dedicated to the conservation of birds, is named in honor of Franco-American ornithologist John James Audubon (left and right). In a magazine piece, the Society said it was speaking out against its namesake and condemning his slave-owning and white supremacist past
The Society has taken down its biography of Audubon and is planning on publishing a new one regarding his 'ethical failings.' Pictured: Anna Hyatt Huntington stands to the right of the Hispanic Society of America Library on the Audubon Terrace plaza
'In the strongest possible terms, we condemn the role John James Audubon played in enslaving Black people and perpetuating white supremacist culture,' the Society writes.
The organization says it has taken down Audubon's biography and is replacing it with content that does not 'ignore the challenging parts of his identity and actions.'
'Audubon didn't create the National Audubon Society, but he remains part of its identity,' writes Audubon historian Dr Gregory Nobles.
Audubon began owning slaves in his late 20s or early 30s, and owned at least nine while living in Henderson, Kentucky.
The family sold them at the end of the 1810s, but that wasn't their last dealing in slave-trading.
The Society says that in early 1819, Audubon sailed with two enslaved men from Mississippi to New Orleans and sold both the men and the boat.
He owned slaves yet