Wikipedia is not, by any means, the last word on everything.
But it does contain a reference to Idaho native and Mount Rushmore sculptor Gutzon Borglum that should have piqued the curiosity of the folks at the Idaho Hall of Fame.
"Borglum's nativist stances made him seem an ideologically sympathetic choice to carve a memorial to heroes of the Confederacy, planned for Stone Mountain, Georgia. ... At Stone Mountain he developed sympathetic connections with the reorganized Ku Klux Klan, who were major financial backers for the monument."
Ideally, this might have prompted the Hall of Fame folks to dig a little deeper, using a state-of-the-art fact-finding tool known by many as Google. Once there, they might have found an informative article written to promote the PBS series "American Experience."
An excerpt: "While at Stone Mountain, Borglum became associated with the newly reborn Ku Klux Klan. Whether this accorded with a racist world view, or if it was simply one way to bond with some of his patrons on the Stone Mountain project, is unclear. Frankly, Borglum had little time for anyone, white or black, who was not a congressman or millionaire, or happened to be in his way. There is no indication, for example, that he treated his long-suffering black chauffeur Charlie Johnson any differently than any white employee — he owed him back pay just like everyone else."
Borglum's motivations for dealing with the KKK may be hazy, but the association has long been a matter of public record. Maybe not as well known as longtime U.S. Sen. Robert Byrd's KKK history — but well known nonetheless. Which renders this quote from Idaho Hall of Fame president Dallas Cox uninformed at best.
“Oh my gosh, you’re kidding?” Cox told The Associated Press. “Well, I’ll bet if we sat down and took every one of the inductees since 1995, you could find something on every one of them."
Now that's reassuring.
When Borglum joins the hall's class of 2010 inductees, this won't exactly represent a monument to due diligence.