1907 Indiana Eugenics Law Marker

Have you ever been in a car when the driver slammed on the brakes to stop and read a historical marker? The stories told by the markers can be interesting or sobering, like this one that tells the story of a civil rights activist killed in Alabama. But are these markers accurate? NPR spent a year investigating.

It turns out anyone can order a sign, resulting in some wild “historical” stories of ghosts, witches, alien abductions, and more. Among other issues, NPR found examples of blatant racism – over 270 markers used racial slurs or tropes to describe Native Americans – and more subtle sins of omission – the majority of markers that mention plantations fail to include any mention of slavery.

You can read or listen to all of NPR’s findings in their “Off The Mark” series.


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