California Eugenics Laws: Professor Says State Should …

University of Michigan professor Alex Stern has completed a database of thousands recommended for sterilization when California had eugenics laws on the book and she says those alive should be compensated. Michigan Photography hide caption

There’s a grim chapter in American history that involves forced sterilization. And for much of this past century, California had one of the most active sterilization programs in the country.

A state law from 1909 authorized the surgery for people judged to have “mental disease, which may have been inherited.” That law remained on the books until 1979.

University of Michigan professor Alexandra Minna Stern has been working to identify people who were forcibly sterilized under California’s program. NPR’s Ailsa Chang spoke with Stern, who said this idea of eugenics was intended to “eradicate certain genes from the population.”

The professor describes the program as a historic injustice and called for the state of California to compensate surviving victims of sterilization of relatives of those who are now deceased.

The interview highlights contain some extra content that did not air in the broadcast version.

A 1935 recommendation to sterilize a 23-year-old male patient at Pacific Colony, based a supposed IQ of 75. His foster mother refused the sterilization. The outcome of this case is unknown, but in some instances medical superintendents disregarded such appeals. California Committee for the Protection of Human Subjects Protocol ID 13-08-1310 and the University of Michigan Biomedical IRB HUM00084931 hide caption

A 1935 recommendation to sterilize a 23-year-old male patient at Pacific Colony, based a supposed IQ of 75. His foster mother refused the sterilization. The outcome of this case is unknown, but in some instances medical superintendents disregarded such appeals.

On how she found the names of all the victims

The names are located in 19 microfilm reels that I happened upon while doing research in Sacramento about seven years ago.

On what made her look at the microfilms

I’ve written a book on the history of eugenics in California. But at that point, I still knew very little about the sterilizations themselves; who was sterilized, where did all of the sterilizations take place, how is the policy enacted?

So I did a bit of sleuthing and went to the actual departments themselves the department of mental health in this case, in Sacramento and was fortunate that someone there directed me to some file cabinets that contained microfilm reels with materials that had been microfilmed over the course of the ’60s and ’70s.

And lo and behold, there they were! I was able to begin using them as historical documents and that’s how the project started.

On whether she found any patterns among the 20,000 names she discovered

Our team (and I should say this is the effort of a research team that includes epidemiologists, historians, digital humanists), we have a found a variety of patterns and we keep discovering more.

For example, we have determined that patients with Spanish surnames were much more likely to be sterilized than other patients, demonstrating that there was a racial bias in the sterilization program. We were also able to show the kinds of diagnoses that were given to patients, how that affected times of sterilization. We’re able to look at age of sterilization and also patterns related to gender.

So there’s a whole range of patterns that will help us to understand this pattern of history in California and also how it relates to national dynamics more broadly.

On what Stern and her team found with regard to age and gender patterns

Well, we found that people were sterilized at very young ages, that really often the focus was on minors, people as young as 7. The average age of sterilization was the low 20s, so many of these people were 15, 16, 17 and 18. We also found that, as I mentioned before, that the Spanish surname individuals were more likely to be sterilized at younger ages, indicating that there was interest on behalf of the state at targeting them at lower reproductive ages. In terms of gender, that pattern that I just mentioned, pertains to women as well.

One of the interesting things that we discovered is that initially, more men were sterilized. It started off as sterilization in general and across the country and in California, focused more on men in the teens and 20s and into the 30s. But by the 1930s, that pattern started to change. So by the ’40s and ’50s, more women were being sterilized.

On what kinds of “mental diseases” were focused on

It’s very important to take that terminology with many historic grains of salt. If we go back in time and look at what the terms meant, it often meant people who were not conforming to societal norms, people who were poor, people who lacked education, perhaps didn’t speak sufficient English to make it through school, and so on.

But what it meant for those who were enacting the law were people who were determined to have poor IQs, people with certain psychiatric disorders. But generally, often the way it was used was much more as a catch-all category so people who just didn’t fit, kind of like the misfits of society, so to speak. That’s the way they looked at them.

Looking back on it, I would say that those who were institutionalized because many more people where institutionalized than actually sterilized was because maybe they had a psychiatric condition and they were sent to an institution as was the policy at the time in the mid-20th century. …

But for the most part, this program of eugenics … the idea of sterilization was to eradicate certain genes from the population.

On whether anyone among those who were sterilized are still alive

I haven’t found anyone who’s still alive. I have been contacted by relatives … people who contacted me whose aunts or uncles were sterilized at some of these institutions. In the recent paper that my team published, we determined through statistical analysis that it is likely that slightly over 800 people, about 500 women and 300 men, are alive today.

Those numbers don’t map on to exact people, they don’t correspond to a precise person. But what we’ve done, we’ve generated the most reliable estimates, and based on that estimate and also looking at the timing, we estimate that the majority of these people were sterilized between 1945 and 1949 and their average age is about 88, so fairly old.

So what we could do is we could go and look at the records. And that’s where I’d like to work with the state of California, because we’ve essentially created a eugenics registry. We can look at the records and identify likely individuals and then reach out and contact them.

I, however, would like to mention that two states that have enacted policies for monetary reparations for sterilization victims North Carolina and Virginia the states have to lead in kind of creating a committee and a registry. And because it was the state seeking to provide some type of redress and acknowledge this history, the state was able to actively set up a program and seek out and try to identify individuals. So they would come to the state and they would confirm through documentation that they had been sterilized and then receive recognition and monetary compensation.

On if there are indications that California is interested in compensating victims of sterilization

There’s indication that the state is interested in this history and is aware of possibility of sterilization abuse. Just three years ago, news broke that about 150 women in two California women’s prisons had been sterilized without proper consent and proper procedure. That resulted in a state audit in the interest of the state legislators and eventually, a law that was unanimously passed, banning sterilizations except under extreme medical circumstances in California state prisons. So this issue is on the radar screen.

It’s easy to forget about these patients who were in these remote institutions in the 1940s and ’50s in California. However, I think it behooves the state to not forget this history, and all of us to not forget this history. So hopefully, having this fairly solid number that we’ve generated of an estimate of likely living survivors could help facilitate that process. …

It would also be a good idea to think about other forms of recognition of this historical injustice. For example, putting up a historical plaque in Sacramento somewhere to recognize those who were sterilized, or at one of the institutions such as the Sonoma State Home or the Patton State Home, making sure this history is included in K-12 curriculum.

More here:

California Eugenics Laws: Professor Says State Should …

Eugenics in the United States – Wikipedia

Eugenics, the set of beliefs and practices which aims at improving the genetic quality of the human population[2][3] played a significant role in the history and culture of the United States prior to its involvement in World War II.[4]

Eugenics was practised in the United States many years before eugenics programs in Nazi Germany[5] and U.S. programs provided much of the inspiration for the latter.[6][7][8] Stefan Khl has documented the consensus between Nazi race policies and those of eugenicists in other countries, including the United States, and points out that eugenicists understood Nazi policies and measures as the realization of their goals and demands.[9]

During the Progressive Era of the late 19th and early 20th century, eugenics was considered a method of preserving and improving the dominant groups in the population; it is now generally associated with racist and nativist elements as the movement was to some extent a reaction to a change in emigration from Europe rather than scientific genetics.[10]

The American eugenics movement was rooted in the biological determinist ideas of Sir Francis Galton, which originated in the 1880s. Galton studied the upper classes of Britain, and arrived at the conclusion that their social positions were due to a superior genetic makeup.[11] Early proponents of eugenics believed that, through selective breeding, the human species should direct its own evolution. They tended to believe in the genetic superiority of Nordic, Germanic and Anglo-Saxon peoples; supported strict immigration and anti-miscegenation laws; and supported the forcible sterilization of the poor, disabled and “immoral”.[12] Eugenics was also supported by African Americans intellectuals such as W. E. B. Du Bois, Thomas Wyatt Turner, and many academics at Tuskegee University, Howard University, and Hampton University; however they believed the best blacks were as good as the best whites and “The Talented Tenth” of all races should mix.[13] W. E. B. Du Bois believed “only fit blacks should procreate to eradicate the race’s heritage of moral iniquity.”[13][14]

The American eugenics movement received extensive funding from various corporate foundations including the Carnegie Institution, Rockefeller Foundation, and the Harriman railroad fortune.[7] In 1906 J.H. Kellogg provided funding to help found the Race Betterment Foundation in Battle Creek, Michigan.[11] The Eugenics Record Office (ERO) was founded in Cold Spring Harbor, New York in 1911 by the renowned biologist Charles B. Davenport, using money from both the Harriman railroad fortune and the Carnegie Institution. As late as the 1920s, the ERO was one of the leading organizations in the American eugenics movement.[11][15] In years to come, the ERO collected a mass of family pedigrees and concluded that those who were unfit came from economically and socially poor backgrounds. Eugenicists such as Davenport, the psychologist Henry H. Goddard, Harry H. Laughlin, and the conservationist Madison Grant (all well respected in their time) began to lobby for various solutions to the problem of the “unfit”. Davenport favored immigration restriction and sterilization as primary methods; Goddard favored segregation in his The Kallikak Family; Grant favored all of the above and more, even entertaining the idea of extermination.[16] The Eugenics Record Office later became the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory.

Eugenics was widely accepted in the U.S. academic community.[7] By 1928 there were 376 separate university courses in some of the United States’ leading schools, enrolling more than 20,000 students, which included eugenics in the curriculum.[17] It did, however, have scientific detractors (notably, Thomas Hunt Morgan, one of the few Mendelians to explicitly criticize eugenics), though most of these focused more on what they considered the crude methodology of eugenicists, and the characterization of almost every human characteristic as being hereditary, rather than the idea of eugenics itself.[18]

By 1910, there was a large and dynamic network of scientists, reformers and professionals engaged in national eugenics projects and actively promoting eugenic legislation. The American Breeder’s Association was the first eugenic body in the U.S., established in 1906 under the direction of biologist Charles B. Davenport. The ABA was formed specifically to “investigate and report on heredity in the human race, and emphasize the value of superior blood and the menace to society of inferior blood.” Membership included Alexander Graham Bell, Stanford president David Starr Jordan and Luther Burbank.[19][20] The American Association for the Study and Prevention of Infant Mortality was one of the first organizations to begin investigating infant mortality rates in terms of eugenics.[21] They promoted government intervention in attempts to promote the health of future citizens.[22][verification needed]

Several feminist reformers advocated an agenda of eugenic legal reform. The National Federation of Women’s Clubs, the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union, and the National League of Women Voters were among the variety of state and local feminist organization that at some point lobbied for eugenic reforms.[23]

One of the most prominent feminists to champion the eugenic agenda was Margaret Sanger, the leader of the American birth control movement. Margaret Sanger saw birth control as a means to prevent unwanted children from being born into a disadvantaged life, and incorporated the language of eugenics to advance the movement.[24][25] Sanger also sought to discourage the reproduction of persons who, it was believed, would pass on mental disease or serious physical defect. She advocated sterilization in cases where the subject was unable to use birth control.[24] Unlike other eugenicists, she rejected euthanasia.[26] For Sanger, it was individual women and not the state who should determine whether or not to have a child.[27][28]

In the Deep South, women’s associations played an important role in rallying support for eugenic legal reform. Eugenicists recognized the political and social influence of southern clubwomen in their communities, and used them to help implement eugenics across the region.[29] Between 1915 and 1920, federated women’s clubs in every state of the Deep South had a critical role in establishing public eugenic institutions that were segregated by sex.[30] For example, the Legislative Committee of the Florida State Federation of Women’s Clubs successfully lobbied to institute a eugenic institution for the mentally retarded that was segregated by sex.[31] Their aim was to separate mentally retarded men and women to prevent them from breeding more “feebleminded” individuals.

Public acceptance in the U.S. was the reason eugenic legislation was passed. Almost 19 million people attended the PanamaPacific International Exposition in San Francisco, open for 10 months from February 20 to December 4, 1915.[32][33] The PPIE was a fair devoted to extolling the virtues of a rapidly progressing nation, featuring new developments in science, agriculture, manufacturing and technology. A subject that received a large amount of time and space was that of the developments concerning health and disease, particularly the areas of tropical medicine and race betterment (tropical medicine being the combined study of bacteriology, parasitology and entomology while racial betterment being the promotion of eugenic studies). Having these areas so closely intertwined, it seemed that they were both categorized in the main theme of the fair, the advancement of civilization. Thus in the public eye, the seemingly contradictory[clarification needed] areas of study were both represented under progressive banners of improvement and were made to seem like plausible courses of action to better American society.[34][verification needed]

Beginning with Connecticut in 1896, many states enacted marriage laws with eugenic criteria, prohibiting anyone who was “epileptic, imbecile or feeble-minded”[35] from marrying.[citation needed]

The first state to introduce a compulsory sterilization bill was Michigan, in 1897 but the proposed law failed to garner enough votes by legislators to be adopted. Eight years later Pennsylvania’s state legislators passed a sterilization bill that was vetoed by the governor. Indiana became the first state to enact sterilization legislation in 1907,[36] followed closely by Washington and California in 1909. Sterilization rates across the country were relatively low (California being the sole exception) until the 1927 Supreme Court case Buck v. Bell which legitimized the forced sterilization of patients at a Virginia home for the mentally retarded. The number of sterilizations performed per year increased until another Supreme Court case, Skinner v. Oklahoma, 1942, complicated the legal situation by ruling against sterilization of criminals if the equal protection clause of the constitution was violated. That is, if sterilization was to be performed, then it could not exempt white-collar criminals.[37] The state of California was at the vanguard of the American eugenics movement, performing about 20,000 sterilizations or one third of the 60,000 nationwide from 1909 up until the 1960s.[38]

While California had the highest number of sterilizations, North Carolina’s eugenics program which operated from 1933 to 1977, was the most aggressive of the 32 states that had eugenics programs.[39] An IQ of 70 or lower meant sterilization was appropriate in North Carolina.[40] The North Carolina Eugenics Board almost always approved proposals brought before them by local welfare boards.[40] Of all states, only North Carolina gave social workers the power to designate people for sterilization.[39] “Here, at last, was a method of preventing unwanted pregnancies by an acceptable, practical, and inexpensive method,” wrote Wallace Kuralt in the March 1967 journal of the N.C. Board of Public Welfare. “The poor readily adopted the new techniques for birth control.”[40]

The Immigration Restriction League was the first American entity associated officially with eugenics. Founded in 1894 by three recent Harvard University graduates, the League sought to bar what it considered inferior races from entering America and diluting what it saw as the superior American racial stock (upper class Northerners of Anglo-Saxon heritage). They felt that social and sexual involvement with these less-evolved and less-civilized races would pose a biological threat to the American population. The League lobbied for a literacy test for immigrants, based on the belief that literacy rates were low among “inferior races”. Literacy test bills were vetoed by Presidents in 1897, 1913 and 1915; eventually, President Wilson’s second veto was overruled by Congress in 1917. Membership in the League included: A. Lawrence Lowell, president of Harvard, William DeWitt Hyde, president of Bowdoin College, James T. Young, director of Wharton School and David Starr Jordan, president of Stanford University.[41]

The League allied themselves with the American Breeder’s Association to gain influence and further its goals and in 1909 established a Committee on Eugenics chaired by David Starr Jordan with members Charles Davenport, Alexander Graham Bell, Vernon Kellogg, Luther Burbank, William Ernest Castle, Adolf Meyer, H. J. Webber and Friedrich Woods. The ABA’s immigration legislation committee, formed in 1911 and headed by League’s founder Prescott F. Hall, formalized the committee’s already strong relationship with the Immigration Restriction League. They also founded the Eugenics Record Office, which was headed by Harry H. Laughlin.[42] In their mission statement, they wrote:

Society must protect itself; as it claims the right to deprive the murderer of his life so it may also annihilate the hideous serpent of hopelessly vicious protoplasm. Here is where appropriate legislation will aid in eugenics and creating a healthier, saner society in the future.”[42]

Money from the Harriman railroad fortune was also given to local charities, in order to find immigrants from specific ethnic groups and deport, confine, or forcibly sterilize them.[7]

With the passage of the Immigration Act of 1924, eugenicists for the first time played an important role in the Congressional debate as expert advisers on the threat of “inferior stock” from eastern and southern Europe.[43][verification needed] The new act, inspired by the eugenic belief in the racial superiority of “old stock” white Americans as members of the “Nordic race” (a form of white supremacy), strengthened the position of existing laws prohibiting race-mixing.[44] Eugenic considerations also lay behind the adoption of incest laws in much of the U.S. and were used to justify many anti-miscegenation laws.[45]

Stephen Jay Gould asserted that restrictions on immigration passed in the United States during the 1920s (and overhauled in 1965 with the Immigration and Nationality Act) were motivated by the goals of eugenics. During the early 20th century, the United States and Canada began to receive far higher numbers of Southern and Eastern European immigrants. Influential eugenicists like Lothrop Stoddard and Harry Laughlin (who was appointed as an expert witness for the House Committee on Immigration and Naturalization in 1920) presented arguments they would pollute the national gene pool if their numbers went unrestricted.[46][47] It has been argued that this stirred both Canada and the United States into passing laws creating a hierarchy of nationalities, rating them from the most desirable Anglo-Saxon and Nordic peoples to the Chinese and Japanese immigrants, who were almost completely banned from entering the country.[44][48]

Both class and race factored into eugenic definitions of “fit” and “unfit.” By using intelligence testing, American eugenicists asserted that social mobility was indicative of one’s genetic fitness.[49] This reaffirmed the existing class and racial hierarchies and explained why the upper-to-middle class was predominantly white. Middle-to-upper class status was a marker of “superior strains.”[31] In contrast, eugenicists believed poverty to be a characteristic of genetic inferiority, which meant that those deemed “unfit” were predominantly of the lower classes.[31]

Because class status designated some more fit than others, eugenicists treated upper and lower class women differently. Positive eugenicists, who promoted procreation among the fittest in society, encouraged middle class women to bear more children. Between 1900 and 1960, Eugenicists appealed to middle class white women to become more “family minded,” and to help better the race.[50] To this end, eugenicists often denied middle and upper class women sterilization and birth control.[51]

Since poverty was associated with prostitution and “mental idiocy,” women of the lower classes were the first to be deemed “unfit” and “promiscuous.”[31]

In 1907, Indiana passed the first eugenics-based compulsory sterilization law in the world. Thirty U.S. states would soon follow their lead.[52][53] Although the law was overturned by the Indiana Supreme Court in 1921,[54] the U.S. Supreme Court, in Buck v. Bell, upheld the constitutionality of the Virginia Sterilization Act of 1924, allowing for the compulsory sterilization of patients of state mental institutions in 1927.[55]

Some states sterilized “imbeciles” for much of the 20th century. Although compulsory sterilization is now considered an abuse of human rights, Buck v. Bell was never overturned, and Virginia did not repeal its sterilization law until 1974.[56] The most significant era of eugenic sterilization was between 1907 and 1963, when over 64,000 individuals were forcibly sterilized under eugenic legislation in the United States.[57] Beginning around 1930, there was a steady increase in the percentage of women sterilized, and in a few states only young women were sterilized. From 1930 to the 1960s, sterilizations were performed on many more institutionalized women than men.[31] By 1961, 61 percent of the 62,162 total eugenic sterilizations in the United States were performed on women.[31] A favorable report on the results of sterilization in California, the state with the most sterilizations by far, was published in book form by the biologist Paul Popenoe and was widely cited by the Nazi government as evidence that wide-reaching sterilization programs were feasible and humane.[58][59]

Men and women were compulsorily sterilized for different reasons. Men were sterilized to treat their aggression and to eliminate their criminal behavior, while women were sterilized to control the results of their sexuality.[31] Since women bore children, eugenicists held women more accountable than men for the reproduction of the less “desirable” members of society.[31] Eugenicists therefore predominantly targeted women in their efforts to regulate the birth rate, to “protect” white racial health, and weed out the “defectives” of society.[31]

A 1937 Fortune magazine poll found that 2/3 of respondents supported eugenic sterilization of “mental defectives”, 63% supported sterilization of criminals, and only 15% opposed both.[60]

In the 1970s, several activists and women’s rights groups discovered several physicians to be performing coerced sterilizations of specific ethnic groups of society. All were abuses of poor, nonwhite, or mentally retarded women, while no abuses against white or middle-class women were recorded.[61] Although the sterilizations were not explicitly motivated by eugenics, the sterilizations were similar to the eugenics movement[according to whom?] because they were done without the patients’ consent.

For example, in 1972, United States Senate committee testimony brought to light that at least 2,000 involuntary sterilizations had been performed on poor black women without their consent or knowledge. An investigation revealed that the surgeries were all performed in the South, and were all performed on black welfare mothers with multiple children. Testimony revealed that many of these women were threatened with an end to their welfare benefits until they consented to sterilization.[62] These surgeries were instances of sterilization abuse, a term applied to any sterilization performed without the consent or knowledge of the recipient, or in which the recipient is pressured into accepting the surgery. Because the funds used to carry out the surgeries came from the U.S. Office of Economic Opportunity, the sterilization abuse raised older suspicions, especially amongst the black community, that “federal programs were underwriting eugenicists who wanted to impose their views about population quality on minorities and poor women.”[31]

Native American women were also victims of sterilization abuse up into the 1970s.[63] The organization WARN (Women of All Red Nations) publicized that Native American women were threatened that, if they had more children, they would be denied welfare benefits. The Indian Health Service also repeatedly refused to deliver Native American babies until their mothers, in labor, consented to sterilization. Many Native American women unknowingly gave consent, since directions were not given in their native language. According to the General Accounting Office, an estimate of 3,406 Indian women were sterilized.[63] The General Accounting Office stated that the Indian Health Service had not followed the necessary regulations, and that the “informed consent forms did not adhere to the standards set by the United States Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (HEW).”[64]

One of the methods that was commonly suggested to get rid of “inferior” populations was euthanasia. A 1911 Carnegie Institute report mentioned euthanasia as one of its recommended “solutions” to the problem of cleansing society of unfit genetic attributes. The most commonly suggested method was to set up local gas chambers. However, many in the eugenics movement did not believe that Americans were ready to implement a large-scale euthanasia program, so many doctors had to find clever ways of subtly implementing eugenic euthanasia in various medical institutions. For example, a mental institution in Lincoln, Illinois fed its incoming patients milk infected with tuberculosis (reasoning that genetically fit individuals would be resistant), resulting in 30-40% annual death rates. Other doctors practiced euthanasia through various forms of lethal neglect.[65]

In the 1930s, there was a wave of portrayals of eugenic “mercy killings” in American film, newspapers, and magazines. In 1931, the Illinois Homeopathic Medicine Association began lobbying for the right to euthanize “imbeciles” and other defectives. The Euthanasia Society of America was founded in 1938.[66]

Overall, however, euthanasia was marginalized in the U.S., motivating people to turn to forced segregation and sterilization programs as a means for keeping the “unfit” from reproducing.[67]

Mary deGormo, a former classroom teacher was the first person to combine ideas about health and intelligence standards with competitions at state fairs, in the form of “better baby” contests. She developed the first such contest, the “Scientific Baby Contest” for the Louisiana State Fair in Shreveport, in 1908. She saw these contests as a contribution to the “social efficiency” movement, which was advocating for the standardization of all aspects of American life as a means of increasing efficiency.[21] deGarmo was assisted by the pediatrician Dr. Jacob Bodenheimer, who helped her develop grading sheets for contestants, which combined physical measurements with standardized measurements of intelligence.[68] Scoring was based on a deduction system, in that every child started at 1000 points and then was docked points for having measurements that were below a designated average. The child with the most points (and the least defections) was ideal.[69][verification needed]

The topic of standardization through scientific judgment was a topic that was very serious in the eyes of the scientific community, but has often been downplayed as just a popular fad or trend. Nevertheless, a lot of time, effort, and money were put into these contests and their scientific backing, which would influence cultural ideas as well as local and state government practices.[70][verification needed]

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People promoted eugenics by hosting “Better Baby” contests and the proceeds would go to its anti-lynching campaign.[13]

First appearing in 1920 at the Kansas Free Fair, Fitter Family competitions, continued all the way up to World War II. Mary T. Watts and Dr. Florence Brown Sherbon,[71][72] both initiators of the Better Baby Contests in Iowa, took the idea of positive eugenics for babies and combined it with a determinist concept of biology to come up with fitter family competitions.[73]

There were several different categories that families were judged in: Size of the family, overall attractiveness, and health of the family, all of which helped to determine the likelihood of having healthy children. These competitions were simply a continuation of the Better Baby contests that promoted certain physical and mental qualities.[74] At the time, it was believed that certain behavioral qualities were inherited from your parents. This led to the addition of several judging categories including: generosity, self-sacrificing, and quality of familial bonds. Additionally, there were negative features that were judged: selfishness, jealousy, suspiciousness, high temperedness, and cruelty. Feeblemindedness, alcoholism, and paralysis were few among other traits that were included as physical traits to be judged when looking at family lineage.[75]

Doctors and specialists from the community would offer their time to judge these competitions, which were originally sponsored by the Red Cross.[75] The winners of these competitions were given a Bronze Medal as well as champion cups called “Capper Medals.” The cups were named after then Governor and Senator, Arthur Capper and he would present them to “Grade A individuals”.[76]

The perks of entering into the contests were that the competitions provided a way for families to get a free health check up by a doctor as well as some of the pride and prestige that came from winning the competitions.[75]

By 1925 the Eugenics Records Office was distributing standardized forms for judging eugenically fit families, which were used in contests in several U.S. states.[77]

After the eugenics movement was well established in the United States, it spread to Germany. California eugenicists began producing literature promoting eugenics and sterilization and sending it overseas to German scientists and medical professionals.[67] By 1933, California had subjected more people to forceful sterilization than all other U.S. states combined. The forced sterilization program engineered by the Nazis was partly inspired by California’s.[8]

The Rockefeller Foundation helped develop and fund various German eugenics programs,[78] including the one that Josef Mengele worked in before he went to Auschwitz.[7][79]

Upon returning from Germany in 1934, where more than 5,000 people per month were being forcibly sterilized, the California eugenics leader C. M. Goethe bragged to a colleague:

You will be interested to know that your work has played a powerful part in shaping the opinions of the group of intellectuals who are behind Hitler in this epoch-making program. Everywhere I sensed that their opinions have been tremendously stimulated by American thought . . . I want you, my dear friend, to carry this thought with you for the rest of your life, that you have really jolted into action a great government of 60 million people.[80]

Eugenics researcher Harry H. Laughlin often bragged that his Model Eugenic Sterilization laws had been implemented in the 1935 Nuremberg racial hygiene laws.[81] In 1936, Laughlin was invited to an award ceremony at Heidelberg University in Germany (scheduled on the anniversary of Hitler’s 1934 purge of Jews from the Heidelberg faculty), to receive an honorary doctorate for his work on the “science of racial cleansing”. Due to financial limitations, Laughlin was unable to attend the ceremony and had to pick it up from the Rockefeller Institute. Afterwards, he proudly shared the award with his colleagues, remarking that he felt that it symbolized the “common understanding of German and American scientists of the nature of eugenics.”[82]

After 1945, however, historians began to attempt to portray the US eugenics movement as distinct and distant from Nazi eugenics.[83]Jon Entine wrote that eugenics simply means “good genes” and using it as synonym for genocide is an “all-too-common distortion of the social history of genetics policy in the United States.” According to Entine, eugenics developed out of the Progressive Era and not “Hitler’s twisted Final Solution.”[84]

Barbara Rothman and Gareth Thomas, writing for AMA Journal of Ethics, wrote that prenatal screening can be considered a form of contemporary eugenics because it prevents the birth of people with conditions considered undesirable.[85]

The rest is here:

Eugenics in the United States – Wikipedia

Harvard’s eugenics era | Harvard Magazine

In August 1912, Harvard president emeritus Charles William Eliot addressed the Harvard Club of San Francisco on a subject close to his heart: racial purity. It was being threatened, he declared, by immigration. Eliot was not opposed to admitting new Americans, but he saw the mixture of racial groups it could bring about as a grave danger. Each nation should keep its stock pure, Eliot told his San Francisco audience. There should be no blending of races.

Eliots warning against mixing raceswhich for him included Irish Catholics marrying white Anglo-Saxon Protestants, Jews marrying Gentiles, and blacks marrying whiteswas a central tenet of eugenics. The eugenics movement, which had begun in England and was rapidly spreading in the United States, insisted that human progress depended on promoting reproduction by the best people in the best combinations, and preventing the unworthy from having children.

The former Harvard president was an outspoken supporter of another major eugenic cause of his time: forced sterilization of people declared to be feebleminded, physically disabled, criminalistic, or otherwise flawed. In 1907, Indiana had enacted the nations first eugenic sterilization law. Four years later, in a paper on The Suppression of Moral Defectives, Eliot declared that Indianas law blazed the trail which all free states must follow, if they would protect themselves from moral degeneracy.

He also lent his considerable prestige to the campaign to build a global eugenics movement. He was a vice president of the First International Eugenics Congress, which met in London in 1912 to hear papers on racial suicide among Northern Europeans and similar topics. Two years later, Eliot helped organize the First National Conference on Race Betterment in Battle Creek, Michigan.

None of these actions created problems for Eliot at Harvard, for a simple reason: they were well within the intellectual mainstream at the University. Harvard administrators, faculty members, and alumni were at the forefront of American eugenicsfounding eugenics organizations, writing academic and popular eugenics articles, and lobbying government to enact eugenics laws. And for many years, scarcely any significant Harvard voices, if any at all, were raised against it.

Harvards role in the movement was in many ways not surprising. Eugenics attracted considerable support from progressives, reformers, and educated elites as a way of using science to make a better world. Harvard was hardly the only university that was home to prominent eugenicists. Stanfords first president, David Starr Jordan, and Yales most acclaimed economist, Irving Fisher, were leaders in the movement. The University of Virginia was a center of scientific racism, with professors like Robert Bennett Bean, author of such works of pseudo-science as the 1906 American Journal of Anatomy article, Some Racial Peculiarities of the Negro Brain.

But in part because of its overall prominence and influence on society, and in part because of its sheer enthusiasm, Harvard was more central to American eugenics than any other university. Harvard has, with some justification, been called the brain trust of twentieth-century eugenics, but the role it played is little remembered or remarked upon today.It is understandable that the University is not eager to recall its part in that tragically misguided intellectual movementbut it is a chapter too important to be forgotten.In part because of its overall prominence and influence on society, and in part because of its sheer enthusiasm, Harvard was more central to American eugenics than any other university.

Eugenics emerged in England in the late 1800s, when Francis Galton, a half cousin of Charles Darwin, began studying the families of some of historys greatest thinkers and concluded that genius was hereditary. Galton invented a new wordcombining the Greek for good and genesand launched a movement calling for society to take affirmative steps to promote the more suitable races or strains of blood. Echoing his famous half cousins work on evolution, Galton declared that what Nature does blindly, slowly, and ruthlessly, man may do providently, quickly, and kindly.

Eugenics soon made its way across the Atlantic, reinforced by the discoveries of Gregor Mendel and the new science of genetics. In the United States, it found some of its earliest support among the same group that Harvard had: the wealthy old families of Boston. The Boston Brahmins were strong believers in the power of their own bloodlines, and it was an easy leap for many of them to believe that society should work to make the nations gene pool as exalted as their own.

Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr.A.B. 1829, M.D. 36, LL.D. 80, dean of Harvard Medical School, acclaimed writer, and father of the future Supreme Court justicewas one of the first American intellectuals to espouse eugenics. Holmes, whose ancestors had been at Harvard since John Oliver entered with the class of 1680, had been writing about human breeding even before Galton. He had coined the phrase Boston Brahmin in an 1861 book in which he described his social class as a physical and mental elite, identifiable by its noble physiognomy and aptitude for learning, which he insisted were congenital and hereditary.

Holmes believed eugenic principles could be used to address the nations social problems. In an 1875 article in The Atlantic Monthly, he gave Galton an early embrace, and argued that his ideas could help to explain the roots of criminal behavior. If genius and talent are inherited, as Mr. Galton has so conclusively shown, Holmes wrote, why should not deep-rooted moral defectsshow themselvesin the descendants of moral monsters?

As eugenics grew in popularity, it took hold at the highest levels of Harvard. A. Lawrence Lowell, who served as president from 1909 to 1933, was an active supporter. Lowell, who worked to impose a quota on Jewish students and to keep black students from living in the Yard, was particularly concerned about immigrationand he joined the eugenicists in calling for sharp limits. The need for homogeneity in a democracy, he insisted, justified laws resisting the influx of great numbers of a greatly different race.

Lowell also supported eugenics research. When the Eugenics Record Office, the nations leading eugenics research and propaganda organization, asked for access to Harvard records to study the physical and intellectual attributes of alumni fathers and sons, he readily agreed. Lowell had a strong personal interest in eugenics research, his secretary noted in response to the request.

The Harvard faculty contained some of nations most influential eugenics thinkers, in an array of academic disciplines. Frank W. Taussig, whose 1911 Principles of Economics was one of the most widely adopted economics textbooks of its time, called for sterilizing unworthy individuals, with a particular focus on the lower classes. The human race could be immensely improved in quality, and its capacity for happy living immensely increased, if those of poor physical and mental endowment were prevented from multiplying, he wrote. Certain types of criminals and paupers breed only their kind, and society has a right and a duty to protect its members from the repeated burden of maintaining and guarding such parasites.

Harvards geneticists gave important support to Galtons fledgling would-be science. Botanist Edward M. East, who taught at Harvards Bussey Institution, propounded a particularly racial version of eugenics. In his 1919 book Inbreeding and Outbreeding: Their Genetic and Sociological Significance, East warned that race mixing would diminish the white race, writing: Races have arisen which are as distinct in mental capacity as in physical traits. The simple fact, he said, was that the negro is inferior to the white.

East also sounded a biological alarm about the Jews, Italians, Asians, and other foreigners who were arriving in large numbers. The early settlers came from stock which had made notable contributions to civilization, he asserted, whereas the new immigrants were coming in increasing numbers from peoples who have impressed modern civilization but lightly. There was a distinct possibility, he warned, that a considerable part of these people are genetically undesirable.

In his 1923 book, Mankind at the Crossroads, Easts pleas became more emphatic. The nation, he said, was being overrun by the feebleminded, who were reproducing more rapidly than the general population. And we expect to restore the balance by expecting the latter to compete with them in the size of their families? East wrote. No! Eugenics is sorely needed; social progress without it is unthinkable.

Easts Bussey Institution colleague William Ernest Castle taught a course on Genetics and Eugenics, one of a number of eugenics courses across the University. He also published a leading textbook by the same name that shaped the views of a generation of students nationwide. Genetics and Eugenics not only identified its author as Professor of Zoology in Harvard University, but was published by Harvard University Press and bore the Veritas seal on its title page, lending the appearance of an imprimatur to his strongly stated views.

In Genetics and Eugenics, Castle explained that race mixing, whether in animals or humans, produced inferior offspring. He believed there were superior and inferior races, and that racial crossing benefited neither. From the viewpoint of a superior race there is nothing to be gained by crossing with an inferior race, he wrote. From the viewpoint of the inferior race also the cross is undesirable if the two races live side by side, because each race will despise individuals of mixed race and this will lead to endless friction.

Castle also propounded the eugenicists argument that crime, prostitution, and pauperism were largely due to feeblemindedness, which he said was inherited. He urged that the unfortunate individuals so afflicted be sterilized or, in the case of women, segregated in institutions during their reproductive years to prevent them from having children.

Like his colleague East, Castle was deeply concerned about the biological impact of immigration. In some parts of the country, he said, the good human stock was dying outand being replaced by a European peasant population. Would this new population be a fit substitute for the old Anglo-Saxon stock? Castles answer: Time alone will tell.

One of Harvards most prominent psychology professors was a eugenicist who pioneered the use of questionable intelligence testing. Robert M. Yerkes, A.B. 1898, Ph.D. 02, published an introductory psychology textbook in 1911 that included a chapter on Eugenics and Mental Life. In it, he explained that the cure for race deterioration is the selection of the fit as parents.

Yerkes, who taught courses with such titles as Educational Psychology, Heredity, and Eugenics and Mental Development in the Race, developed a now-infamous intelligence test that was administered to 1.75 million U.S. Army enlistees in 1917. The test purported to find that more than 47 percent of the white test-takers, and even more of the black ones, were feebleminded. Some of Yerkess questions were straightforward language and math problems, but others were more like tests of familiarity with the dominant culture: one asked, Christy Mathewson is famous as a: writer, artist, baseball player, comedian. The journalist Walter Lippmann, A.B. 1910, Litt.D. 44, said the results were not merely inaccurate, but nonsense, with no more scientific foundation than a hundred other fads, vitamins, or correspondence courses in will power. The 47 percent feebleminded claim was an absurd result unless, as Harvards late professor of geology Stephen Jay Gould put it, the United States was a nation of morons. But the Yerkes findings were widely accepted and helped fuel the drives to sterilize unfit Americans and keep out unworthy immigrants.The Yerkes findings were widely accepted and helped fuel the drives to sterilize unfit Americans and keep out unworthy immigrants.

Another eugenicist in a key position was William McDougall, who held the psychology professorship William James had formerly held. His 1920 book The Group Mind explained that the negro race had never produced any individuals of really high mental and moral endowments and was apparently incapable of doing so. His next book, Is America Safe for Democracy (1921), argued that civilizations declined because of the inadequacy of the qualities of the people who are the bearers of itand advocated eugenic sterilization.

Harvards embrace of eugenics extended to the athletic department. Dudley Allen Sargent, who arrived in 1879 to direct Hemenway Gymnasium, infused physical education at the College with eugenic principles, including his conviction that certain kinds of exercise were particularly important for female students because they built strong pelvic muscleswhich over time could advantage the gene pool. In giving birth to a childno amount of mental and moral education will ever take the place of a large well-developed pelvis with plenty of muscular and organic power behind it, Sargent stated. The presence of large female pelvises, he insisted, would determine whether large brainy children shall be born at all.

Sargent, who presided over Hemenway for 40 years, used his position as a bully pulpit. In 1914, he addressed the nations largest eugenic gathering, the Race Betterment Conference, in Michigan, at which one of the main speakers called for eugenic sterilization of the worthless one tenth of the nation. Sargent told the conference that, based on his long experience and careful observation of Harvard and Radcliffe students, physical educationis one of the most important factors in the betterment of the race.

If Harvards embrace of eugenics had somehow remained within University confinesas merely an intellectual school of thoughtthe impact might have been contained. But members of the community took their ideas about genetic superiority and biological engineering to Congress, to the courts, and to the public at largewith considerable effect.

In 1894, a group of alumni met in Boston to found an organization that took a eugenic approach to what they considered the greatest threat to the nation: immigration. Prescott Farnsworth Hall, Charles Warren, and Robert DeCourcy Ward were young scions of old New England families, all from the class of 1889. They called their organization the Immigration Restriction League, but genetic thinking was so central to their mission that Hall proposed calling it the Eugenic Immigration League. Joseph Lee, A.B. 1883, A.M.-J.D. 87, LL.D. 26, scion of a wealthy Boston banking family and twice elected a Harvard Overseer, was a major funder, and William DeWitt Hyde A. B. 1879, S.T.D. 86, another future Overseer and the president of Bowdoin College, served as a vice president. The membership rolls quickly filled with hundreds of people united in xenophobia, many of them Boston Brahmins and Harvard graduates.

Their goal was to keep out groups they regarded as biologically undesirable. Immigration was a race question, pure and simple, Ward said. It is fundamentally a question as towhat races shall dominate in the country. League members made no secret of whom they meant: Jews, Italians, Asians, and anyone else who did not share their northern European lineage.

Drawing on Harvard influence to pursue its goalsrecruiting alumni to establish branches in other parts of the country and boasting President Lowell himself as its vice presidentthe Immigration Restriction League was remarkably effective in its work. Its first major proposal was a literacy test, not only to reduce the total number of immigrants but also to lower the percentage from southern and eastern Europe, where literacy rates were lower. In 1896the league persuaded Senator Henry Cabot Lodge of Massachusetts, A.B. 1871, LL.B. 74, Ph.D. 76, LL.D. 04, to introduce a literacy bill. Getting it passed and signed into law took time, but beginning in 1917, immigrants were legally required to prove their literacy to be admitted to the country.

The league scored a far bigger victory with the passage of the Immigration Act of 1924. After hearing extensive expert testimony about the biological threat posed by immigrants, Congress imposed harsh national quotas designed to keep Jews, Italians, and Asians out. As the percentage of immigrants from northern Europe increased significantly, Jewish immigration fell from 190,000 in 1920 to 7,000 in 1926; Italian immigration fell nearly as sharply; and immigration from Asia was almost completely cut off until 1952.

While one group of alumni focused on inserting eugenics into immigration, another prominent alumnus was taking the lead of the broader movement. Charles Benedict Davenport, A.B. 1889, Ph.D. 92, taught zoology at Harvard before founding the Eugenics Record Office in Cold Spring Harbor, New York, in 1910. Funded in large part by Mrs. E.H. Harriman, widow of the railroad magnate, the E.R.O. became a powerful force in promoting eugenics. It was the main gathering place for academics studying eugenics, and the driving force in promoting eugenic sterilization laws nationwide.Davenport explained that qualities like criminality and laziness were genetically determined.

Davenport wrote prolifically. Heredity in Relation to Eugenics, published in 1911,quickly became the standard text for the eugenics courses cropping up at colleges and universities nationwide, and was cited by more than one-third of high-school biology textbooks of the era. Davenport explained that qualities like criminality and laziness were genetically determined. When both parents are shiftless in some degree, he wrote, only about 15 percent of their children would be industrious.

But perhaps no Harvard eugenicist had more impact on the public consciousness than Lothrop Stoddard, A.B. 1905, Ph.D. 14. His bluntly titled 1920 bestseller, The Rising Tide of Color Against White World Supremacy, had 14 printings in its first three years, drew lavish praise from President Warren G. Harding, and made a mildly disguised appearance in The Great Gatsby, when Daisy Buchanans husband, Tom, exclaimed that civilizations going to piecessomething hed learned by reading The Rise of the Colored Empires by this man Goddard.

When eugenics reached a high-water mark in 1927, a pillar of the Harvard community once again played a critical role. In that year, the Supreme Court decided Buck v. Bell, a constitutional challenge to Virginias eugenic sterilization law. The case was brought on behalf of Carrie Buck, a young woman who had been designated feebleminded by the state and selected for eugenic sterilization. Buck was, in fact, not feebleminded at all. Growing up in poverty in Charlottesville, she had been taken in by a foster family and then raped by one of its relatives. She was declared feebleminded because she was pregnant out of wedlock, and she was chosen for sterilization because she was deemed to be feebleminded.

By an 8-1 vote, the justices upheld the Virginia law and Bucks sterilizationand cleared the way for sterilizations to continue in about half the country, where there were similar laws. The majority opinion was written by Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., A.B. 1861, LL.B. 66, LL.D. 95, a former Harvard Law School professor and Overseer. Holmes, who shared his fathers deep faith in bloodlines, did not merely give Virginia a green light: he urged the nation to get serious about eugenics and prevent large numbers of unfit Americans from reproducing. It was necessary to sterilize people who sap the strength of the State, Holmes insisted, to prevent our being swamped with incompetence. His opinion included one of the most brutal aphorisms in American law, saying of Buck, her mother, and her perfectly normal infant daughter: Three generations of imbeciles are enough.

In the same week the Supreme Court decided Buck v. Bell, Harvard made eugenics news of its own. It turned down a $60,000 bequest from Dr. J. Ewing Mears, a Philadelphia surgeon, to fund instruction in eugenics in all its branches, notably that branch relating to the treatment of the defective and criminal classes by surgical procedures.

Harvards decision, reported on the front page of The New York Times, appeared to be a counterweight to the Supreme Courts ruling. But the Universitys decision had been motivated more by reluctance to be coerced into a particular position on sterilization than by any institutional opposition to eugenicswhich it continued to embrace.

Eugenics followed much the same arc at Harvard as it did in the nation at large. Interest began to wane in the 1930s, as the field became more closely associated with the Nazi government that had taken power in Germany. By the end of the decade, Davenport had retired and the E.R.O. had shut down; the Carnegie Institution, of which it was part, no longer wanted to support eugenics research and advocacy. As the nation went to war against a regime that embraced racism, eugenics increasingly came to be regarded as un-American.

It did not, however, entirely fade awayat the University, or nationally. Earnest Hooton, chairman of the anthropology department, was particularly outspoken in support of what he called a biological purge. In 1936, while the first German concentration camps were opening, he made a major plea for eugenic sterilizationthough he emphasized that it should not target any race or religion.

Hooton believed it was imperative for society to remove its worthless people. Our real purpose, he declared in a speech that was quoted in The New York Times, should be to segregate and to eliminate the unfit, worthless, degenerate and anti-social portion of each racial and ethnic strain in our population, so that we may utilize the substantial merits of its sound majority, and the special and diversified gifts of its superior members.Our real purposeshould be to segregate and to eliminate the unfit, worthless, degenerate and anti-social portion of each racial and ethnic strain in our population, so that we may utilize the substantial merits of its sound majority.

None of the news out of Germany after the war made Hooton abandon his views. There can be little doubt of the increase during the past fifty years of mental defectives, psychopaths, criminals, economic incompetents and the chronically diseased, he wrote in Redbook magazine in 1950. We owe this to the intervention of charity, welfare and medical science, and to the reckless breeding of the unfit.

The United States also held onto eugenics, if not as enthusiastically as it once did. In 1942, with the war against the Nazis raging, the Supreme Court had a chance to overturn Buck v. Bell and hold eugenic sterilization unconstitutional, but it did not. The court struck down an Oklahoma sterilization law, but on extremely narrow groundsleaving the rest of the nations eugenic sterilization laws intact. Only after the civil-rights revolution of the 1960s, and changes in popular views toward marginalized groups, did eugenic sterilization begin to decline more rapidly. But states continued to sterilize the unfit until 1981.

Today, the American eugenics movement is often thought of as an episode of national follylike 1920s dance marathons or Prohibitionwith little harm done. In fact, the harm it caused was enormous.

As many as 70,000 Americans were forcibly sterilized for eugenic reasons, while important members of the Harvard community cheered andas with Eliot, Lowell, and Holmescalled for more. Many of those 70,000 were simply poor, or had done something that a judge or social worker didnt like, oras in Carrie Bucks casehad terrible luck. Their lives were changed foreverBuck lost her daughter to illness and died childless in 1983, not understanding until her final years what the state had done to her, or why she had been unable to have more children.

Also affected were the many people kept out of the country by the eugenically inspired immigration laws of the 1920s. Among them were a large number of European Jews who desperately sought to escape the impending Holocaust. A few years ago, correspondence was discovered from 1941 in which Otto Frank pleaded with the U.S. State Department for visas for himself, his wife, and his daughters Margot and Anne. It is understood today that Anne Frank died because the Nazis considered her a member of an inferior race, but few appreciate that her death was also due, in part, to the fact that many in the U.S. Congress felt the same way.

There are important reasons for remembering, and further exploring, Harvards role in eugenics. Colleges and universities today are increasingly interrogating their paststhinking about what it means to have a Yale residential college named after John C. Calhoun, a Princeton school named after Woodrow Wilson, or slaveholder Isaac Royalls coat of arms on the Harvard Law School shield and his name on a professorship endowed by his will.

Eugenics is a part of Harvards history. It is unlikely that Eliot House or Lowell House will be renamed, but there might be a way for the University community to spare a thought for Carrie Buck and others who paid a high price for the harmful ideas that Harvard affiliates played a major role in propounding.

There are also forward-looking reasons to revisit this dark moment in the Universitys past. Biotechnical science has advanced to the brink of a new era of genetic possibilities. In the next few years, the headlines will be full of stories about gene-editing technology, genetic solutions for a variety of human afflictions and frailties, and even designer babies. Given that Harvard affiliates, again, will play a large role in all of these, it is important to contemplate how wrong so many people tied to the University got it the first timeand to think hard about how, this time, to get it right.

Read more here:

Harvard’s eugenics era | Harvard Magazine

Eugenics – Wikipedia

Eugenics (; from Greek eugenes “well-born” from eu, “good, well” and genos, “race, stock, kin”)[2][3] is a set of beliefs and practices that aims at improving the genetic quality of the human population.[4][5] The exact definition of eugenics has been a matter of debate since the term was coined.

Frederick Osborn’s 1937 journal article “Development of a Eugenic Philosophy”[6] framed it as a social philosophythat is, a philosophy with implications for social order. That definition is not universally accepted. Osborn advocated for higher rates of sexual reproduction among people with desired traits (positive eugenics), or reduced rates of sexual reproduction and sterilization of people with less-desired or undesired traits (negative eugenics).

Alternatively, gene selection rather than “people selection” has recently been made possible through advances in genome editing.[7]

While eugenic principles have been practiced as far back in world history as ancient Greece, the modern history of eugenics began in the early 20th century when a popular eugenics movement emerged in the United Kingdom[8] and spread to many countries, including the United States, Canada[9] and most European countries. In this period, eugenic ideas were espoused across the political spectrum. Consequently, many countries adopted eugenic policies meant to improve the genetic stock of their countries. Such programs often included both “positive” measures, such as encouraging individuals deemed particularly “fit” to reproduce, and “negative” measures such as marriage prohibitions and forced sterilization of people deemed unfit for reproduction. People deemed unfit to reproduce often included people with mental or physical disabilities, people who scored in the low ranges of different IQ tests, criminals and deviants, and members of disfavored minority groups. The eugenics movement became negatively associated with Nazi Germany and the Holocaust when many of the defendants at the Nuremberg trials attempted to justify their human rights abuses by claiming there was little difference between the Nazi eugenics programs and the US eugenics programs.[10] In the decades following World War II, with the institution of human rights, many countries gradually abandoned eugenics policies, although some Western countries, among them the United States, continued to carry out forced sterilizations.

Since the 1980s and 1990s when new assisted reproductive technology procedures became available, such as gestational surrogacy (available since 1985), preimplantation genetic diagnosis (available since 1989) and cytoplasmic transfer (first performed in 1996), fear about a possible future revival of eugenics and a widening of the gap between the rich and the poor has emerged.

A major criticism of eugenics policies is that, regardless of whether “negative” or “positive” policies are used, they are vulnerable to abuse because the criteria of selection are determined by whichever group is in political power. Furthermore, negative eugenics in particular is considered by many to be a violation of basic human rights, which include the right to reproduction. Another criticism is that eugenic policies eventually lead to a loss of genetic diversity, resulting in inbreeding depression instead due to a low genetic variation.

The concept of positive eugenics to produce better human beings has existed at least since Plato suggested selective mating to produce a guardian class.[12] The idea of negative eugenics to decrease the birth of inferior human beings has existed at least since William Goodell (1829-1894) advocated the castration and spaying of the insane.[13][14]

The idea of a modern project of improving the human population through a statistical understanding of heredity used to encourage good breeding was originally developed by Francis Galton and, initially, was closely linked to Darwinism and the theory of natural selection.[15] Galton had read his half-cousin Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution, which sought to explain the development of plant and animal species, and desired to apply it to humans. Based on his biographical studies, Galton believed that desirable human qualities were hereditary traits, though Darwin strongly disagreed with this elaboration of his theory.[16] In 1883, one year after Darwin’s death, Galton gave his research a name: eugenics.[17] With the introduction of genetics, eugenics relied on an ideology of genetic determinism in which human character was due to genes, unaffected by education or living conditions. Many of the early geneticists were not Darwinians, and evolution theory was not needed for eugenics policies based on genetic determinism.[15] Throughout its recent history, eugenics has remained controversial.

Eugenics became an academic discipline at many colleges and universities, and received funding from many sources.[19] Organisations formed to win public support and sway opinion towards responsible eugenic values in parenthood, including the British Eugenics Education Society of 1907, and the American Eugenics Society of 1921. Both sought support from leading clergymen, and modified their message to meet religious ideals.[20] In 1909 the Anglican clergymen William Inge and James Peile both wrote for the British Eugenics Education Society. Inge was an invited speaker at the 1921 International Eugenics Conference, which was also endorsed by the Roman Catholic Archbishop of New York Patrick Joseph Hayes.[20]

Three International Eugenics Conferences presented a global venue for eugenists with meetings in 1912 in London, and in 1921 and 1932 in New York City. Eugenic policies were first implemented in the early 1900s in the United States.[21] It also took root in France, Germany, and Great Britain.[22] Later, in the 1920s and 30s, the eugenic policy of sterilizing certain mental patients was implemented in other countries, including Belgium,[23]Brazil,[24]Canada,[25]Japan and Sweden.

In addition to being practiced in a number of countries, eugenics was internationally organized through the International Federation of Eugenics Organizations. Its scientific aspects were carried on through research bodies such as the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute of Anthropology, Human Heredity, and Eugenics, the Cold Spring Harbour Carnegie Institution for Experimental Evolution, and the Eugenics Record Office. Politically, the movement advocated measures such as sterilization laws. In its moral dimension, eugenics rejected the doctrine that all human beings are born equal, and redefined moral worth purely in terms of genetic fitness. Its racist elements included pursuit of a pure “Nordic race” or “Aryan” genetic pool and the eventual elimination of “less fit” races.

Early critics of the philosophy of eugenics included the American sociologist Lester Frank Ward,[34] the English writer G. K. Chesterton, the German-American anthropologist Franz Boas,[35] and Scottish tuberculosis pioneer and author Halliday Sutherland. Ward’s 1913 article “Eugenics, Euthenics, and Eudemics”, Chesterton’s 1917 book Eugenics and Other Evils, and Boas’ 1916 article “Eugenics” (published in The Scientific Monthly) were all harshly critical of the rapidly growing movement. Sutherland identified eugenists as a major obstacle to the eradication and cure of tuberculosis in his 1917 address “Consumption: Its Cause and Cure”,[36] and criticism of eugenists and Neo-Malthusians in his 1921 book Birth Control led to a writ for libel from the eugenist Marie Stopes. Several biologists were also antagonistic to the eugenics movement, including Lancelot Hogben.[37] Other biologists such as J. B. S. Haldane and R. A. Fisher expressed skepticism that sterilization of “defectives” would lead to the disappearance of undesirable genetic traits.[38]

Among institutions, the Catholic Church was an opponent of state-enforced sterilizations.[39] Attempts by the Eugenics Education Society to persuade the British government to legalise voluntary sterilisation were opposed by Catholics and by the Labour Party.[pageneeded] The American Eugenics Society initially gained some Catholic supporters, but Catholic support declined following the 1930 papal encyclical Casti connubii.[20] In this, Pope Pius XI explicitly condemned sterilization laws: “Public magistrates have no direct power over the bodies of their subjects; therefore, where no crime has taken place and there is no cause present for grave punishment, they can never directly harm, or tamper with the integrity of the body, either for the reasons of eugenics or for any other reason.”[40]

As a social movement, eugenics reached its greatest popularity in the early decades of the 20th century, when it was practiced around the world and promoted by governments, institutions, and influential individuals. Many countries enacted[41] various eugenics policies, including: genetic screening, birth control, promoting differential birth rates, marriage restrictions, segregation (both racial segregation and sequestering the mentally ill), compulsory sterilization, forced abortions or forced pregnancies, culminating in genocide.

The scientific reputation of eugenics started to decline in the 1930s, a time when Ernst Rdin used eugenics as a justification for the racial policies of Nazi Germany. Adolf Hitler had praised and incorporated eugenic ideas in Mein Kampf in 1925 and emulated eugenic legislation for the sterilization of “defectives” that had been pioneered in the United States once he took power. Some common early 20th century eugenics methods involved identifying and classifying individuals and their families, including the poor, mentally ill, blind, deaf, developmentally disabled, promiscuous women, homosexuals, and racial groups (such as the Roma and Jews in Nazi Germany) as “degenerate” or “unfit”, leading to their segregation or institutionalization, sterilization, euthanasia, and even their mass murder. The Nazi practice of euthanasia was carried out on hospital patients in the Aktion T4 centers such as Hartheim Castle.

By the end of World War II, many discriminatory eugenics laws were abandoned, having become associated with Nazi Germany.[44] H. G. Wells, who had called for “the sterilization of failures” in 1904,[45] stated in his 1940 book The Rights of Man: Or What are we fighting for? that among the human rights he believed should be available to all people was “a prohibition on mutilation, sterilization, torture, and any bodily punishment”.[46] After World War II, the practice of “imposing measures intended to prevent births within [a population] group” fell within the definition of the new international crime of genocide, set out in the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.[47] The Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union also proclaims “the prohibition of eugenic practices, in particular those aiming at selection of persons”.[48] In spite of the decline in discriminatory eugenics laws, some government mandated sterilization continued into the 21st century. During the ten years President Alberto Fujimori led Peru from 1990 to 2000, allegedly 2,000 persons were involuntarily sterilized.[49] China maintained its coercive one-child policy until 2015 as well as a suite of other eugenics based legislation to reduce population size and manage fertility rates of different populations.[50][51][52] In 2007 the United Nations reported coercive sterilisations and hysterectomies in Uzbekistan.[53] During the years 200506 to 201213, nearly one-third of the 144 California prison inmates who were sterilized did not give lawful consent to the operation.[54]

Developments in genetic, genomic, and reproductive technologies at the end of the 20th century are raising numerous questions regarding the ethical status of eugenics, effectively creating a resurgence of interest in the subject. Some, such as UC Berkeley sociologist Troy Duster, claim that modern genetics is a back door to eugenics.[55] This view is shared by White House Assistant Director for Forensic Sciences, Tania Simoncelli, who stated in a 2003 publication by the Population and Development Program at Hampshire College that advances in pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) are moving society to a “new era of eugenics”, and that, unlike the Nazi eugenics, modern eugenics is consumer driven and market based, “where children are increasingly regarded as made-to-order consumer products”.[56] In a 2006 newspaper article, Richard Dawkins said that discussion regarding eugenics was inhibited by the shadow of Nazi misuse, to the extent that some scientists would not admit that breeding humans for certain abilities is at all possible. He believes that it is not physically different from breeding domestic animals for traits such as speed or herding skill. Dawkins felt that enough time had elapsed to at least ask just what the ethical differences were between breeding for ability versus training athletes or forcing children to take music lessons, though he could think of persuasive reasons to draw the distinction.[57]

In October 2015, the United Nations’ International Bioethics Committee wrote that the ethical problems of human genetic engineering should not be confused with the ethical problems of the 20th century eugenics movements; however, it is still problematic because it challenges the idea of human equality and opens up new forms of discrimination and stigmatization for those who do not want or cannot afford the enhancements.[58]

Transhumanism is often associated with eugenics, although most transhumanists holding similar views nonetheless distance themselves from the term “eugenics” (preferring “germinal choice” or “reprogenetics”)[59] to avoid having their position confused with the discredited theories and practices of early-20th-century eugenic movements.

The term eugenics and its modern field of study were first formulated by Francis Galton in 1883,[60] drawing on the recent work of his half-cousin Charles Darwin.[61][62] Galton published his observations and conclusions in his book Inquiries into Human Faculty and Its Development.

The origins of the concept began with certain interpretations of Mendelian inheritance, and the theories of August Weismann. The word eugenics is derived from the Greek word eu (“good” or “well”) and the suffix -gens (“born”), and was coined by Galton in 1883 to replace the word “stirpiculture”, which he had used previously but which had come to be mocked due to its perceived sexual overtones.[64] Galton defined eugenics as “the study of all agencies under human control which can improve or impair the racial quality of future generations”.[65] Galton did not understand the mechanism of inheritance.[66]

Historically, the term has referred to everything from prenatal care for mothers to forced sterilization and euthanasia.[citation needed] To population geneticists, the term has included the avoidance of inbreeding without altering allele frequencies; for example, J. B. S. Haldane wrote that “the motor bus, by breaking up inbred village communities, was a powerful eugenic agent.”[67] Debate as to what exactly counts as eugenics has continued to the present day.[68]

Edwin Black, journalist and author of War Against the Weak, claims eugenics is often deemed a pseudoscience because what is defined as a genetic improvement of a desired trait is often deemed a cultural choice rather than a matter that can be determined through objective scientific inquiry.[69] The most disputed aspect of eugenics has been the definition of “improvement” of the human gene pool, such as what is a beneficial characteristic and what is a defect. This aspect of eugenics has historically been tainted with scientific racism.

Early eugenists were mostly concerned with perceived intelligence factors that often correlated strongly with social class. Some of these early eugenists include Karl Pearson and Walter Weldon, who worked on this at the University College London.[16]

Eugenics also had a place in medicine. In his lecture “Darwinism, Medical Progress and Eugenics”, Karl Pearson said that everything concerning eugenics fell into the field of medicine. He basically placed the two words as equivalents. He was supported in part by the fact that Francis Galton, the father of eugenics, also had medical training.[70]

Eugenic policies have been conceptually divided into two categories. Positive eugenics is aimed at encouraging reproduction among the genetically advantaged; for example, the reproduction of the intelligent, the healthy, and the successful. Possible approaches include financial and political stimuli, targeted demographic analyses, in vitro fertilization, egg transplants, and cloning.[71] The movie Gattaca provides a fictional example of positive eugenics done voluntarily. Negative eugenics aimed to eliminate, through sterilization or segregation, those deemed physically, mentally, or morally “undesirable”. This includes abortions, sterilization, and other methods of family planning.[71] Both positive and negative eugenics can be coercive; abortion for fit women, for example, was illegal in Nazi Germany.[72]

Jon Entine claims that eugenics simply means “good genes” and using it as synonym for genocide is an “all-too-common distortion of the social history of genetics policy in the United States.” According to Entine, eugenics developed out of the Progressive Era and not “Hitler’s twisted Final Solution”.[73]

According to Richard Lynn, eugenics may be divided into two main categories based on the ways in which the methods of eugenics can be applied.[74]

The first major challenge to conventional eugenics based upon genetic inheritance was made in 1915 by Thomas Hunt Morgan, who demonstrated the event of genetic mutation occurring outside of inheritance involving the discovery of the hatching of a fruit fly (Drosophila melanogaster) with white eyes from a family of red-eyes. Morgan claimed that this demonstrated that major genetic changes occurred outside of inheritance and that the concept of eugenics based upon genetic inheritance was not completely scientifically accurate. Additionally, Morgan criticized the view that subjective traits, such as intelligence and criminality, were caused by heredity because he believed that the definitions of these traits varied and that accurate work in genetics could only be done when the traits being studied were accurately defined.[110] In spite of Morgan’s public rejection of eugenics, much of his genetic research was absorbed by eugenics.[111][112]

The heterozygote test is used for the early detection of recessive hereditary diseases, allowing for couples to determine if they are at risk of passing genetic defects to a future child.[113] The goal of the test is to estimate the likelihood of passing the hereditary disease to future descendants.[113]

Recessive traits can be severely reduced, but never eliminated unless the complete genetic makeup of all members of the pool was known, as aforementioned. As only very few undesirable traits, such as Huntington’s disease, are dominant, it could be argued[by whom?] from certain perspectives that the practicality of “eliminating” traits is quite low.[citation needed]

There are examples of eugenic acts that managed to lower the prevalence of recessive diseases, although not influencing the prevalence of heterozygote carriers of those diseases. The elevated prevalence of certain genetically transmitted diseases among the Ashkenazi Jewish population (TaySachs, cystic fibrosis, Canavan’s disease, and Gaucher’s disease), has been decreased in current populations by the application of genetic screening.[114]

Pleiotropy occurs when one gene influences multiple, seemingly unrelated phenotypic traits, an example being phenylketonuria, which is a human disease that affects multiple systems but is caused by one gene defect.[115] Andrzej Pkalski, from the University of Wrocaw, argues that eugenics can cause harmful loss of genetic diversity if a eugenics program selects for a pleiotropic gene that is also associated with a positive trait. Pekalski uses the example of a coercive government eugenics program that prohibits people with myopia from breeding but has the unintended consequence of also selecting against high intelligence since the two go together.[116]

Eugenic policies could also lead to loss of genetic diversity, in which case a culturally accepted “improvement” of the gene pool could very likelyas evidenced in numerous instances in isolated island populations (e.g., the dodo, Raphus cucullatus, of Mauritius)result in extinction due to increased vulnerability to disease, reduced ability to adapt to environmental change, and other factors both known and unknown. A long-term species-wide eugenics plan might lead to a scenario similar to this because the elimination of traits deemed undesirable would reduce genetic diversity by definition.[117]

Edward M. Miller claims that, in any one generation, any realistic program should make only minor changes in a fraction of the gene pool, giving plenty of time to reverse direction if unintended consequences emerge, reducing the likelihood of the elimination of desirable genes.[118] Miller also argues that any appreciable reduction in diversity is so far in the future that little concern is needed for now.[118]

While the science of genetics has increasingly provided means by which certain characteristics and conditions can be identified and understood, given the complexity of human genetics, culture, and psychology there is at this point no agreed objective means of determining which traits might be ultimately desirable or undesirable. Some diseases such as sickle-cell disease and cystic fibrosis respectively confer immunity to malaria and resistance to cholera when a single copy of the recessive allele is contained within the genotype of the individual. Reducing the instance of sickle-cell disease genes in Africa where malaria is a common and deadly disease could indeed have extremely negative net consequences.

However, some genetic diseases such as haemochromatosis can increase susceptibility to illness, cause physical deformities, and other dysfunctions, which provides some incentive for people to re-consider some elements of eugenics.

Autistic people have advocated a shift in perception of autism spectrum disorders as complex syndromes rather than diseases that must be cured. Proponents of this view reject the notion that there is an “ideal” brain configuration and that any deviation from the norm is pathological; they promote tolerance for what they call neurodiversity.[119] Baron-Cohen argues that the genes for Asperger’s combination of abilities have operated throughout recent human evolution and have made remarkable contributions to human history.[120] The possible reduction of autism rates through selection against the genetic predisposition to autism is a significant political issue in the autism rights movement, which claims that autism is a part of neurodiversity.

Many culturally Deaf people oppose attempts to cure deafness, believing instead deafness should be considered a defining cultural characteristic not a disease.[121][122][123] Some people have started advocating the idea that deafness brings about certain advantages, often termed “Deaf Gain.”[124][125]

Societal and political consequences of eugenics call for a place in the discussion on the ethics behind the eugenics movement.[126] Many of the ethical concerns regarding eugenics arise from its controversial past, prompting a discussion on what place, if any, it should have in the future. Advances in science have changed eugenics. In the past, eugenics had more to do with sterilization and enforced reproduction laws.[127] Now, in the age of a progressively mapped genome, embryos can be tested for susceptibility to disease, gender, and genetic defects, and alternative methods of reproduction such as in vitro fertilization are becoming more common.[128] Therefore, eugenics is no longer ex post facto regulation of the living but instead preemptive action on the unborn.[129]

With this change, however, there are ethical concerns which lack adequate attention, and which must be addressed before eugenic policies can be properly implemented in the future. Sterilized individuals, for example, could volunteer for the procedure, albeit under incentive or duress, or at least voice their opinion. The unborn fetus on which these new eugenic procedures are performed cannot speak out, as the fetus lacks the voice to consent or to express his or her opinion.[130] Philosophers disagree about the proper framework for reasoning about such actions, which change the very identity and existence of future persons.[131]

A common criticism of eugenics is that “it inevitably leads to measures that are unethical”.[132] Some fear future “eugenics wars” as the worst-case scenario: the return of coercive state-sponsored genetic discrimination and human rights violations such as compulsory sterilization of persons with genetic defects, the killing of the institutionalized and, specifically, segregation and genocide of races perceived as inferior.[133] Health law professor George Annas and technology law professor Lori Andrews are prominent advocates of the position that the use of these technologies could lead to such human-posthuman caste warfare.[134][135]

In his 2003 book Enough: Staying Human in an Engineered Age, environmental ethicist Bill McKibben argued at length against germinal choice technology and other advanced biotechnological strategies for human enhancement. He claims that it would be morally wrong for humans to tamper with fundamental aspects of themselves (or their children) in an attempt to overcome universal human limitations, such as vulnerability to aging, maximum life span and biological constraints on physical and cognitive ability. Attempts to “improve” themselves through such manipulation would remove limitations that provide a necessary context for the experience of meaningful human choice. He claims that human lives would no longer seem meaningful in a world where such limitations could be overcome technologically. Even the goal of using germinal choice technology for clearly therapeutic purposes should be relinquished, since it would inevitably produce temptations to tamper with such things as cognitive capacities. He argues that it is possible for societies to benefit from renouncing particular technologies, using as examples Ming China, Tokugawa Japan and the contemporary Amish.[136]

Some, such as Nathaniel C. Comfort from Johns Hopkins University, claim that the change from state-led reproductive-genetic decision-making to individual choice has moderated the worst abuses of eugenics by transferring the decision-making from the state to the patient and their family.[137] Comfort suggests that “the eugenic impulse drives us to eliminate disease, live longer and healthier, with greater intelligence, and a better adjustment to the conditions of society; and the health benefits, the intellectual thrill and the profits of genetic bio-medicine are too great for us to do otherwise.”[138] Others, such as bioethicist Stephen Wilkinson of Keele University and Honorary Research Fellow Eve Garrard at the University of Manchester, claim that some aspects of modern genetics can be classified as eugenics, but that this classification does not inherently make modern genetics immoral. In a co-authored publication by Keele University, they stated that “[e]ugenics doesn’t seem always to be immoral, and so the fact that PGD, and other forms of selective reproduction, might sometimes technically be eugenic, isn’t sufficient to show that they’re wrong.”[139]

In their 2000 book From Chance to Choice: Genetics and Justice, bioethicists Allen Buchanan, Dan Brock, Norman Daniels and Daniel Wikler argued that liberal societies have an obligation to encourage as wide an adoption of eugenic enhancement technologies as possible (so long as such policies do not infringe on individuals’ reproductive rights or exert undue pressures on prospective parents to use these technologies) in order to maximize public health and minimize the inequalities that may result from both natural genetic endowments and unequal access to genetic enhancements.[140]

Original position, a hypothetical situation developed by American philosopher John Rawls, has been used as an argument for negative eugenics.[141][142]

Excerpt from:

Eugenics – Wikipedia

Eugenics in California: A Legacy of the Past? | Center for …

A free event open to the public, Eugenics in California: a Legacy of thePast?, will take place at the Berkeley Law School on the UC Berkeleycampus (105 Boalt Hall) on Tuesday, August 28, 2012 from 12:30 to 2 pm.

For much of the 20th century, California was at the forefront of eugenicideology and practices in the United States, and holds the dubiousdistinction of being the state with the highest number of eugenicsterilizations performed under the authority of law some 20,000procedures between 1909 and the mid-1950s. Coerced sterilizationscontinued in public hospitals into the 1970s, and it has recently come tolight that in very recent years, women prisoners in California have beensterilized without their consent or knowledge. Today, California is aleader in research and services related to human genomics and assistedreproductive technologies. Speakers at this public event will consider thelong history of eugenics in California and explore continuities anddiscontinuities in the uses and misuses of genetic ideas and practices.

Dean Christopher Edley, Berkeley School of Law, will give opening remarksto welcome attendees.


“Eugenic Sterilization in California: Stories and Statistics” Miroslava Chvez-Garca, University of California at Davis, and AlexandraMinna Stern, University of Michigan

We provide an overview of the patterns of the 20,000 eugenic sterilizationsperformed in California state institutions from 1909 to 1979, with closeattention to race, gender, class, and diagnosis. We will also highlightstories of sterilization victims and the ways in which they attempted tochallenge the state’s authority to control and contain their reproductiverights. As we will demonstrate, the process had a devastating impact onthe victims.

Ms Bebs? (documentary film) Renee Tajima-Pea, University of California at Santa Cruz; Virginia Espino,University of California at Santa Cruz, and Kate Trumbull, documentaryfilmmaker

The feature-length documentary Ms Bebs? (working title) investigatesthe history of Mexican American women who allege they were coercivelysterilized at Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center during the 1960s and70s. Many spoke no English, and testified that they were prodded intotubal ligations during active labor. The sterilizations triggered the1978 class action lawsuit, Madrigal v. Quilligan, and a protest campaignthat galvanized the Chicana feminist movement.

Eugenics in California Womens Prisons Today Kimberly Jeffrey and Courtney Hooks, Justice Now

Since 2003, Justice Now has been working collaboratively with people inCalifornias womens prisons to document how prisons violate theinternational right to family and function as a tool of reproductiveoppression. Presenters will place a spotlight on personal experience withas well as the systemic pattern of destruction of reproductive capacity ofwomen of color and gender variant people in California womens prisonsthrough several state-sanctioned policies, including forced and coercedsterilizations (e.g. the illegal and routine sterilization of hundreds ofpeople in prison during labor and delivery), and other violations of safemotherhood and reproductive justice.

Should We Worry About a New Eugenics? Marcy Darnovsky, Center for Genetics and Society

Today’s fast-developing genetic and reproductive technologies offersignificant benefits, but can also be misused in ways that exacerbateexisting inequalities and create entirely new forms of injustice. California, a hotbed of eugenic advocacy in the last century, is today acenter of biotechnology research and commercial development and theassisted reproduction sector, as well as home to some troublingtechno-enthusiastic ideologies. Our efforts to confront California’seugenic history can help prevent these dynamics from veering toward a neweugenics.

CONTACTS: Susan Schweik, UC Berkeley, sschweik@berkeley.edu, MarcyDarnovsky, Center for Genetics and Society,darnovsky@geneticsandsociety.org

Co-sponsored by the Center for Genetics and Society and U.C. BerkeleysHaas Diversity Research Center, School of Law, Institute for the Study ofSocietal Issues, American Cultures Center, Disability Studies program,Center on Reproductive Rights and Justice, and Center for Race and Gender.

This event is wheelchair accessible. Captioning will be provided. Torequest an accommodation, please email disability@berkeley.edu.

Excerpt from:

Eugenics in California: A Legacy of the Past? | Center for …

Lynchburg, Virginia – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Lynchburg is an independent city in the Commonwealth of Virginia. As of the 2010 census, the population was 75,568. The 2014 census estimates an increase to 79,047.[2] Located in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains along the banks of the James River, Lynchburg is known as the “City of Seven Hills” or the “Hill City”.[3] Lynchburg was the only major city in Virginia that was not captured by the Union before the end of the American Civil War.[4]

Lynchburg is the principal city of the Metropolitan Statistical Area of Lynchburg, near the geographic center of Virginia. It is the fifth largest MSA in Virginia with a population of 254,171[5] and hosts several institutions of higher education. Other nearby cities include Roanoke, Charlottesville, and Danville. Lynchburg’s sister cities are Rueil-Malmaison, France and Glauchau, Germany.

A part of Monacan country upon the arrival of English settlers in Virginia, the region had traditionally been occupied by them and other Siouan Tutelo-speaking tribes since ca. 1270, driving Virginia Algonquians eastward. Explorer John Lederer visited one of the Siouan villages (Saponi) in 1670, on the Staunton River at Otter Creek, southwest of the present-day city, as did Batts and Fallam in 1671. The Siouans occupied the area until c. 1702, when it was taken in conquest by the Seneca Iroquois. The Iroquois ceded control to the Colony of Virginia beginning in 1718, and formally at the Treaty of Albany in 1721.

First settled in 1757, Lynchburg was named for its founder, John Lynch, who at the age of 17 started a ferry service at a ford across the James River to carry traffic to and from New London. He was also responsible for Lynchburg’s first bridge across the river, which replaced the ferry in 1812. He and his mother are buried in the graveyard at the South River Friends Meetinghouse. The “City of Seven Hills” quickly developed along the hills surrounding Lynch’s Ferry. Thomas Jefferson maintained a home near Lynchburg, called Poplar Forest. Jefferson frequented Lynchburg and remarked “Nothing would give me greater pleasure than to be useful to the town of Lynchburg. I consider it as the most interesting spot in the state.”

Lynchburg was established by charter in 1786 at the site of Lynch’s Ferry on the James River. These new easy means of transportation routed traffic through Lynchburg, and allowed it to become the new center of commerce for tobacco trading. In 1810, Jefferson wrote, “Lynchburg is perhaps the most rising place in the U.S…. It ranks now next to Richmond in importance…” Lynchburg became a center of commerce and manufacture in the 19th century, and by the 1850s, Lynchburg (along with New Bedford, Mass.) was one of the richest towns per capita in the U.S.[6] Chief industries were tobacco, iron and steel. Transportation facilities included the James River Bateau on the James River, and later, the James River and Kanawha Canal and, still later, four railroads, including the Virginia and Tennessee Railroad and the Norfolk and Petersburg Railroad.

Early on, Lynchburg was not known for its religiosity. In 1804, evangelist Lorenzo Dow wrote of Lynchburg “… where I spoke in the open air in what I conceived to be the seat of Satan’s Kingdom. Lynchburg was a deadly place for the worship of God.” This was in reference to the lack of churches in Lynchburg. As the wealth of Lynchburg grew, prostitution and other “rowdy” activities became quite common and, in many cases, ignored, if not accepted, by the “powers that be” of the time. Much of this activity took place in an area of downtown referred to as the “Buzzard’s Roost[citation needed].”

During the American Civil War, Lynchburg, which served as a Confederate supply base, was approached within 1-mile (1.6km) by the Union forces of General David Hunter as he drove south from the Shenandoah Valley. Under the false impression that the Confederate forces stationed in Lynchburg were much larger than anticipated, Hunter was repelled by the forces of Confederate General Jubal Early on June 18, 1864, in the Battle of Lynchburg. To create the false impression, a train was continuously run up and down the tracks while the citizens of Lynchburg cheered as if reinforcements were unloading. Local prostitutes took part in the deception, misinforming their Union clients of the large number of Confederate reinforcements.

From April 610, 1865, Lynchburg served as the Capital of Virginia. Under Governor William Smith, the executive and legislative branches of the commonwealth escaped to Lynchburg with the fall of Richmond. Then Gen. Robert E. Lee surrendered to Gen. Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Courthouse, roughly 20 miles east of Lynchburg, ending the Civil War.

In the latter 19th century, Lynchburg’s economy evolved into manufacturing (sometimes referred to as the “Pittsburgh of the South”) and, per capita, made the city one of the wealthiest in the United States. In 1880, Lynchburg resident James Albert Bonsack invented the first cigarette rolling machine. Shortly thereafter Dr. Charles Browne Fleet, a physician and pharmacological tinkerer, introduced the first mass marketed over-the-counter enema. About this time, Lynchburg was also the preferred site for the Norfolk & Western junction with the Shenandoah Valley Railroad. However, the citizens of Lynchburg did not want the junction due to the noise and pollution it would create. Therefore, it was located in what would become the City of Roanoke.

In the late 1950s, a number of interested citizens, including Virginia Senator Mosby G. Perrow, Jr., requested the federal government to change its long-planned route for the interstate highway now known as I-64 between Clifton Forge and Richmond.[7] Since the 1940s, maps of the federal interstate highway system depicted that highway taking a northern route, with no interstate highway running through Lynchburg, but the federal government assured Virginia that the highway’s route would be decided by the state.[8] A proposed southern route called for the Interstate to follow from Richmond via US-360 and US-460, via Lynchburg to Roanoke and US-220 from Roanoke to Clifton Forge, then west following US-60 into West Virginia. Although the State Highway Commission’s minutes reflected its initial approval of the northern route, the issue remained in play,[9] proponents of the southern route ultimately succeeded in persuading a majority of Virginia Highway Commissioners to support the change after a study championed by Perrow demonstrated that it would serve a greater percentage of the state’s manufacturing and textile centers. But in July 1961 Governor Lindsay Almond and U.S. Secretary of Commerce Luther Hodges announced that the route would not be changed.[10] This left Lynchburg as the only city with a population in excess of 50,000 (at the time) not served by an interstate.[11]

For several decades throughout the mid-20th century, the state of Virginia authorized compulsory sterilization of the mentally retarded for the purpose of eugenics. The operations were carried out at the Virginia State Colony for Epileptics and Feebleminded, now known as the Central Virginia Training School, located just outside Lynchburg in Madison Heights. An estimated 8,300 Virginians were sterilized and relocated to Lynchburg, known as a “dumping ground” of sorts for the feeble-minded, poor, blind, epileptic, and those otherwise seen as genetically “unfit”.[12]

Sterilizations were carried out for 35 years until 1972, when operations were finally halted. Later in the late 1970s, the American Civil Liberties Union filed a class-action lawsuit against the state of Virginia on behalf of the sterilization victims. As a result of this suit, the victims received formal apologies and counseling if they chose. Requests to grant the victims reverse sterilization operations were denied.

Carrie Buck, the plaintiff in the United States Supreme Court case Buck v. Bell, was sterilized after being classified as “feeble-minded”, as part of the state’s eugenics program while she was a patient at the Lynchburg Colony for Epileptics and Feebleminded.

The story of Carrie Buck’s sterilization and the court case was made into a television drama in 1994, Against Her Will: The Carrie Buck Story.

“Virginia State Epileptic Colony,” a song by the Manic Street Preachers on their 2009 album ‘Journal For Plague Lovers,’ addresses the state’s program of eugenics.

Downtown Lynchburg has seen a significant amount of revitalization since 2002 with hundreds of new loft apartments created through adaptive reuse of historic warehouses and mills. Since 2000, there has been more than $110 million in private investment in downtown and business activity increased by 205% from 2004 – 2014.[13] In 2014, 75 new apartments were added to downtown with 155 further units under construction increasing the number of housing units downtown by 48% from 2010 – 2014.[14] In 2015, the $5.8 million Lower Bluffwalk pedestrian street zone opened to the public in downtown which has seen a significant amount of residential and commercial development around the zone in recent years.[15] Notable projects underway in downtown by the end of 2015 include the $25 million Hilton Curio branded Virginian Hotel restoration project, $16.6 million restoration of the Academy Center of the Arts, and $4.6 million expansion of Amazement Square Children’s Museum. [16][17][18][19]

Over 40 sites in Lynchburg are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.[20]

Lynchburg is located at 372413N 791012W / 37.40361N 79.17000W / 37.40361; -79.17000 (37.403672, 79.170205).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 49.6 square miles (128.5km2), of which 49.2 square miles (127.4km2) is land and 0.5 square miles (1.3km2) (1.0%) is water.[21]

Lynchburg has a four-season humid subtropical climate (Kppen Cfa), with cool winters and hot, humid summers. The monthly daily average temperature ranges from 35.1F (1.7C) in January to 75.3F (24.1C) in July. Nights tend to be significantly cooler than days throughout much of the year due in part to the moderate elevation. In a typical year, there are 26 days with a high temperature 90F (32C) or above, and 7.5 days with a high of 32F (0C) or below.[22] Snowfall averages 12.9 inches (33cm) per season but this amount varies highly with each winter; the snowiest winter is 199596 with 56.8in (144cm) of snow, but the following winter recorded only trace amounts, the least on record.[23]

Temperature extremes range from 106F (41C), recorded on July 10, 1936, down to 11F (24C), recorded on February 20, 2015.[22] However, several decades may pass between 100F (38C) and 0F (18C) readings, with the last such occurrences being July 8, 2012 and February 20, 2015, respectively.[22]

As of the 2010 census,[31] there were 75,568 people, 25,477 households, and 31,992 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,321.5 people per square mile (510.2/km). There were 27,640 housing units at an average density of 559.6 per square mile (216.1/km). The racial makeup of the city was 63.0% White, 29.3% African American, 0.2% Native American, 2.5% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 0.63% from other races, and 1.7% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.0% of the population.

There were 25,477 households out of which 27.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 41.6% were married couples living together, 16.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 38.8% were non-families. 32.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.30 and the average family size was 2.92.

The age distribution of the city had: 22.1% under the age of 18, 15.5% from 18 to 24, 25.3% from 25 to 44, 20.8% from 45 to 64, and 16.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females there were 84.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 79.1 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $32,234, and the median income for a family was $40,844. Males had a median income of $31,390 versus $22,431 for females. The per capita income for the city was $18,263. About 12.3% of families and 15.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 22.4% of those under age 18 and 10.7% of those age 65 or over.

Lynchburg ranks below the 2006 median annual household income for the U.S. as a whole, which was $48,200, according to the US Census Bureau.[32]

The city’s population was stable for 25+ years: in 2006, it was 67,720; in 2000, it was 65,269; in 1990, it was 66,049; in 1980, it was 66,743.[33]

In 2009 almost 27% of Lynchburg children lived in poverty. The state average that year was 14 percent.[34]

Lynchburg features a skilled labor force, low unemployment rate,[35] and below average cost of living. Of Virginia’s larger metro areas, Forbes Magazine ranked Lynchburg the 5th best place in Virginia for business in 2006, with Virginia being the best state in the country for business.[36] Only 6 places in Virginia were surveyed and most of Virginia’s cities were grouped together by Forbes as “Northern Virginia”. Lynchburg achieved the rank 109 in the whole nation in the same survey.

Industries within the Lynchburg MSA include nuclear technology, pharmaceuticals and material handling. A diversity of small businesses with the region has helped maintain a stable economy and minimized the downturns of the national economy.[37][38] Reaching as high as 1st place (tied) in 2007, Lynchburg has been within the Top 10 Digital Cities survey for its population since the survey’s inception in 2004.

The Lynchburg News & Advance reports that while more people are working than ever in greater Lynchburg, wages since 1990 have not kept up with inflation. Central Virginia Labor Council President Walter Fore believes this is due to lack of white-collar jobs. According to the Census Bureau, adjusted for inflation, 1990 median household income was about $39,000 compared to 2009 median household income of $42,740. As of 2009 Forbes has named Lynchburg as the 70th best metro area for business and careers, ahead of Chicago and behind Baton Rouge. The reason for the decent ranking was due to the low cost of living and low wages in Lynchburg. In other areas, the region didn’t come in as strong. It ranked at 189 for cultural and leisure and at 164 for educational attainment.[39]

Virginia Business Magazine reports that Young Professionals in Lynchburg recently conducted a study that clearly showed how much of its young workforce has been lost.[40]

According to Lynchburg’s 2012 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report,[41] the top private employers in the city are:

The city is served by the Lynchburg City Public Schools. The school board is appointed by the Lynchburg City Council.

The city is also home to a number of mostly religious private schools, including Holy Cross Regional Catholic School, James River Day School, Liberty Christian Academy, New Covenant Classical Christian School, Appomattox Christian Academy, Temple Christian School, and Virginia Episcopal School.

Lynchburg is also home to the Central Virginia Governor’s School for Science and Technology located in Heritage High School. This magnet school consists of juniors and seniors selected from each of the Lynchburg area high schools. As one of eighteen Governor’s Schools in Virginia, the Central Virginia Governor’s School focuses on infusing technology into both the math and science curriculum.

Further education options include a number of surrounding county public school systems.

Colleges and universities in Lynchburg include Central Virginia Community College, Liberty University, Lynchburg College, Randolph College, Sweet Briar College, and Virginia University of Lynchburg.

The Greater Lynchburg Transit Company (GLTC) operates the local public transport bus service within the city. The GLTC additionally provides the shuttle bus service on the Liberty University campus.

The GLTC has selected a property directly across from Lynchburg-Kemper Street Station as its top choice of sites upon which to build the new transfer center for their network of public buses. They are interested in facilitating intermodal connections between GLTC buses and the intercity bus and rail services which operate from that location. The project is awaiting final government approval and funding, and is expected to be completed around 2013.[42]

Intercity passenger rail and bus services are based out of Kemper Street Station, a historic, three-story train station recently restored and converted by the city of Lynchburg to serve as an intermodal hub for the community. The station is located at 825 Kemper Street.[43]

Greyhound Lines located their bus terminal in the main floor of Kemper Street Station following its 2002 restoration.[43] Greyhound offers transport to other cities throughout Virginia, the US, Canada, and Mexico.

Amtrak’s long distance Crescent and a Northeast Regional connect Lynchburg with Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington, Charlotte, Atlanta, Birmingham, New Orleans and intermediate points.

In October 2009, Lynchburg became the southern terminus for a Northeast Regional that previously had overnighted in Washington. The forecast ridership was 51,000 for the 180-mile extension’s first year, but the actual count was triple that estimate, and the train paid for itself without any subsidy.[44] By FY 2015, the Regional had 190,000 riders. The Lynchburg station alone served a total of 85,000 riders in 2015. It is located in the track level ground floor of Kemper Street Station.[45]

Lynchburg has two major freight railroads. It is the crossroads of two Norfolk Southern lines. One is the former mainline of the Southern Railway, upon which Kemper Street Station is situated. NS has a classification yard located next to the shopping mall. Various yard jobs can be seen. Railfans who wish to visit the NS Lynchburg yard are advised to inquire with an NS official. CSX Transportation also has a line through the city and a small yard.

Lynchburg Regional Airport is solely served by American Eagle to Charlotte. American Eagle, a subsidiary of American Airlines, is the only current scheduled airline service provider, with seven daily arrivals and departures. In recent years air travel has increased with 157,517 passengers flying in and out of the airport in 2012, representing 78% of the total aircraft load factor for that time period.

Primary roadways include U.S. Route 29, U.S. Route 501, U.S. Route 221, running north-south, and U.S. Highway 460, running east-west. While not served by an interstate, much of Route 29 has been upgraded to interstate standards and significant improvements have been made to Highway 460.

In a Forbes magazine survey, Lynchburg ranked 189 for cultural and leisure out of 200 cities surveyed.[39]

The following attractions are located within the Lynchburg MSA:

Lynchburg is home to sporting events and organizations including:

The first neighborhoods of Lynchburg developed upon seven hills adjacent to the original ferry landing. These neighborhoods include:

Other major neighborhoods include Boonsboro, Rivermont, Fairview Heights, Fort Hill, Forest Hill (Old Forest Rd. Area), Timberlake, Windsor Hills, Sandusky, Linkhorne, and Wyndhurst.

Notable residents of Lynchburg include:

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Lynchburg, Virginia – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Introduction to Eugenics – Genetics Generation

Introduction to Eugenics

Eugenics is a movement that is aimed at improving the genetic composition of the human race. Historically, eugenicists advocated selective breeding to achieve these goals. Today we have technologies that make it possible to more directly alter the genetic composition of an individual. However, people differ in their views on how to best (and ethically) use this technology.

History of Eugenics

Logo of the Second International Congress of Eugenics, 1921. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

In 1883, Sir Francis Galton, a respected British scholar and cousin of Charles Darwin,first used the term eugenics, meaning well-born. Galton believed that the human race could help direct its future by selectively breeding individuals who have desired traits. This idea was based on Galtons study of upper class Britain. Following these studies, Galton concluded that an elite position in society was due to a good genetic makeup. While Galtons plans to improve the human race through selective breeding never came to fruition in Britain, they eventually took sinister turns in other countries.

The eugenics movement began in the U.S. in the late 19th century. However, unlike in Britain, eugenicists in the U.S. focused on efforts to stop the transmission of negative or undesirable traits from generation to generation. In response to these ideas, some US leaders, private citizens, and corporations started funding eugenical studies. This lead to the 1911 establishment of The Eugenics Records Office (ERO) in Cold Spring Harbor, New York. The ERO spent time tracking family histories and concluded that people deemed to be unfit more often came from families that were poor, low in social standing, immigrant, and/or minority. Further, ERO researchers demonstrated that the undesirable traits in these families, such as pauperism, were due to genetics, and not lack of resources.

Committees were convened to offer solutions to the problem of the growing number of undesirables in the U.S. population. Stricter immigration rules were enacted, but the most ominous resolution was a plan to sterilize unfit individuals to prevent them from passing on their negative traits. During the 20th century, a total of 33 states had sterilization programs in place. While at first sterilization efforts targeted mentally ill people exclusively, later the traits deemed serious enough to warrant sterilization included alcoholism, criminality chronic poverty, blindness, deafness, feeble-mindedness, and promiscuity. It was also not uncommon for African American women to be sterilized during other medical procedures without consent. Most people subjected to these sterilizations had no choice, and because the program was run by the government, they had little chance of escaping the procedure. It is thought that around 65,000 Americans were sterilized during this time period.

The eugenics movement in the U.S. slowly lost favor over time and was waning by the start of World War II. When the horrors of Nazi Germany became apparent, as well as Hitlers use of eugenic principles to justify the atrocities, eugenics lost all credibility as a field of study or even an ideal that should be pursued.

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Eugenics … death of the defenceless – creation.com

The legacy of Darwins cousin Galton

By Russell Grigg

Few ideas have done more harm to the human race in the last 120 years than those of Sir Francis Galton. He founded the evolutionary pseudo-science of eugenics. Today, ethnic cleansing, the use of abortion to eliminate defective unborn babies, infanticide, euthanasia, and the harvesting of unborn babies for research purposes all have a common foundation in the survival-of-the-fittest theory of eugenics. So who was Galton, what is eugenics, and how has it harmed humanity?

Photos Darwin by TFE Graphics, Hitler and Galton by Wikipedia.org

Francis Galton (featured on right in photo montage, right) was born into a Quaker family in Birmingham, England, in 1822. A grandson of Erasmus Darwin on his mothers side and so a cousin of Charles Darwin (pictured above left), he shared the Darwinian agnosticism and antagonism to Christianity for most of his adult life.

As a child, he had learned the alphabet by 18 months, was reading by age 2, memorizing poetry by five, and discussing the Iliad at six.1 In 1840, he began studies at Cambridge University in medicine and then in mathematics, but, due to a nervous breakdown, succeeded in gaining only a modest B.A. degree, in January 1844.2 When his father died that same year, he inherited such a fortune that he never again needed to work for a living.

This gave the wealthy young Galton free time not only for amusement, but also to dabble in a number of fields, including exploration of large areas of South West Africa, his reports of which gained him membership of the Royal Geographic Society in 1853, and three years later of the Royal Society. In that year, Galton married Louisa Butler, whose father had been Headmaster at Harrow School.

As an amateur scientist of boundless curiosity and energy, he went on to write some 14 books and over 200 papers.3 His inventions included the silent dog whistle, a teletype printer; and various instruments and techniques for measuring human intelligence and body parts; and he invented the weather map and discovered the existence of anticyclones.

The publication of Darwins Origin of Species in 1859 was undoubtedly a turning point in Galtons life. In 1869 he wrote to Darwin, [T]he appearance of your Origin of Species formed a real crisis in my life; your book drove away the constraint of my old superstition [i.e. religious arguments based on design] as if it had been a nightmare and was the first to give me freedom of thought.4

From Nott, J.C. and Gliddon, G.R., Indigenous Races of the Earth, J.B. Libbincott, Philadelphia, USA, 1868.

An allegedly scientific illustration from 1868 showing that blacks were less evolved than whites by suggesting similarities with a chimpanzee.

Even the famous evolutionist Stephen Jay Gould commented that the chimpanzee skull is falsely enlarged and the negro jaw falsely extended to suggest that negros rank even lower than apes. This demonstration was not from racist or fringe literature but from one of the leading scientific textbooks of its time. Todays militant evolutionists like to conveniently evade the social implications of their ideas, but history demonstrates otherwise.

Galton was among the first to recognize the implications for mankind of Darwins theory of evolution.5 He believed that talent, character, intellect, etc. were all inherited from ones ancestors, as was also any lack of these qualities. Thus the poor were not hapless victims of their circumstances, but were paupers because they were biologically inferior. This was contrary to the prevailing scientific view that all such qualities were due to environment, i.e. how and where a person was brought up.6 Galton believed that humans, like animals, could and should be selectively bred. In 1883, he coined the term eugenics [Greek: (eu) meaning well and (genos) meaning kind or offspring] for the study of ways of improving the physical and mental characteristics of the human race.

Galtons views left no room for the existence of a human soul, the grace of God in the human heart, human freedom to choose to be different, or even for the dignity of the individual. In his first published article on this subject, in 1865,7 He denied that mans rational faculties are a gift to him from God; he denied that mankind has been cursed with sinfulness since the day of Adam and Eve; and he viewed religious sentiments as nothing more than evolutionary devices to insure the survival of the human species.8

Concerning the sense of original sin, he wrote that [this] would show, according to my theory, not that man was fallen from a high estate, but that he was rapidly rising from a low one and that after myriads of years of barbarism, our race has but very recently grown to be civilized and religious.9

In Hereditary Genius (1869), Galton enlarged on all these ideas and proposed that a system of arranged marriages between men of distinction and women of wealth would eventually produce a gifted race. When Charles Darwin read this book, he wrote to Galton, You have made a convert of an opponent in one sense for I have always maintained that, excepting fools, men did not differ much in intellect, only in zeal and hard work .5 Galtons ideas undoubtedly helped him extend his evolution theory to man. Darwin did not mention Galton in his Origin, but referred to him no less than 11 times in his Descent of Man (1871).

Three International Eugenics Congresses were held in 1912, 1921 and 1932, with eugenics activists attending from Britain, the USA, Germany, France, Australia, Canada, India, Japan, Mauritius, Kenya and South Africa. Notables who supported the ideas preWorld War II included Winston Churchill, economist John Maynard Keynes, science fiction writer H.G. Wells10 and US Presidents Theodore Roosevelt and Calvin Coolidge. Galton received the Huxley Medal from the Anthropological Institute in 1901, the Darwin Medal from the Royal Society in 1902, the DarwinWallace Medal from the Linnean Society in 1908, and honorary degrees from Cambridge and Oxford Universities; he was knighted in 1909. Despite these honours, in life Galton was not his own best advocate for his theories. He had many long-lasting bouts of illness, and notwithstanding his and his wifes good intellectual pedigrees, they produced no children of their own to carry on his name and heritage. After his death in 1911, his will provided for the funding of a Chair of Eugenics and the Galton Eugenics Laboratory at the University of London.

The concept of improving the physical and mental characteristics of the human race may seem admirable at first glance. However, historically the method of achieving it has involved not just increasing the birthrate of the fit by selected parenthood (positive eugenics), but also reducing the birthrate of those people thought to impair such improvement, the unfit (negative eugenics).11

For example, by 1913, one-third (and from the 1920s on, more than half)12 of the US States had laws allowing for the compulsory sterilization of those held in custody who were deemed to be unfit. This resulted in the forced sterilization of some 70,000 victims, including criminals, the mentally retarded, drug addicts, paupers, the blind, the deaf, and people with epilepsy, TB or syphilis. Over 8,000 procedures were done at the one city of Lynchburg, Virginia,13 and isolated instances continued into the 1970s.14,15

About 60,000 Swedish citizens were similarly treated between 1935 and 1976, and there were similar practices in Norway and Canada.16

In Germany in 1933, Hitlers government ordered the compulsory sterilization of all German citizens with undesirable handicaps, not just those held in custody or in institutions. This was to prevent contamination of Hitlers superior German race through intermarriage.

Image Wikipedia.org

Eugenics congress logo. Click here for larger view

Then from 1938 to 1945, this surgical treatment of such useless eaters was superseded by a more comprehensive solutionthe eager genocide, by Hitlers Nazis, of over 11 million people considered to be subhuman or unworthy of life, as is authenticated and documented by the Nuremberg Trials records. Those killed included Jews, evangelical Christians,17 blacks, gypsies, communists, homosexuals, amputees and mental patients.

This was nothing other than rampant Darwinismthe elimination of millions of human beings branded unfit/inferior by, and for the benefit of, those who regarded themselves as being fit/superior.

The core idea of Darwinism is selection.18 The Nazis believed that they must direct the process of selection to advance the German race.19 Galtons nave vision of a eugenics utopia had mutated into the Nazi nightmare of murderous ethnic cleansing.

Sadly, ideas of racial superiority and eugenics did not die with Hitlers regime. David Duke, Americas infamous anti-black and anti-Jew racist, developed his views from reading the eugenicist writings of Galton, H.G. Wells, Sir Arthur Keith and others, as well as the early writings of modern sociobiologists such as Harvards E.O. Wilson.20

Following World War II, eugenics became a dirty word. Eugenicists now called themselves population scientists, human geneticists, family politicians, etc. Journals were renamed. Annals of Eugenics became Annals of Human Genetics, and Eugenics Quarterly became the Journal of Social Biology.21 However today, some 60 years after the Holocaust, the murderous concept that Galtons eugenics spawned is once again alive and flourishing, and wearing a lab-coat of medical respectability.

Doctors now routinely destroy humans, who were created in Gods image (Genesis 1:26), by abortion, infanticide and euthanasia, as well as in fetal/embryonic stem-cell research.

According to the UKs Daily Mail, women are increasingly eliminating their unborn children because of non life-threatening deformities such as deformed feet or cleft lips and palates, and more Downs Syndrome babies are now killed than are allowed to be born.22 Dr Jacqueline Laing of Londons Metropolitan University commented, These figures are symptomatic of a eugenic trend of the consumerist society hell-bent on obliterating deformity. This is straightforward eugenics, said UKs Life Trustee, Nuala Scarisbrick. The message is being sent out to disabled people that they should not have been born. It is appalling and abhorrent.22

Globally, there are an estimated 50 million abortions each year. Thats one abortion for every three live births, so any child in the womb, on average, worldwide, has a one in four chance of being deliberately killed.23

China is famous for its coercive one-child-per-family policy. In practice, most families want a boy, so if a girl is born, she can be at risk. Sometimes the same grisly principle is followed, but before birth. In India, its common to find out the sex of the baby, and a vast majority of abortions are of girl babies. It makes the feminist support of abortion distressingly ironic.

And disabled babies are at risk as well. Ethicist Peter Singer has advocated legalization of infanticide to a certain age. He writes: [K]illing a disabled infant is not morally equivalent to killing a person. Very often it is not wrong at all.24

In May 2001, Holland became the first country to legalize euthanasia, with the law coming into effect from January 2002. Euthanasia was tolerated in Belgium until May 2002, when it was legalized. It is tolerated in Switzerland, Norway and Columbia.23

Photo Bryan College

Clarence Darrow (left) and William Jennings Bryan

The textbook from which Scopes taught evolution, A Civic Biology by George Hunter,2 and its companion lab book3 were blatantly eugenic and offensively racist. Hunter divided humanity into five races and ranked them according to how high each had reached on the evolutionary scale, from the Ethiopian or negro type to the highest type of all, the Caucasians, represented by the civilized white inhabitants of Europe and America.4A Civic Biology asserted that crime and immorality are inherited and run in families, and said that these families have become parasitic on society. If such people were lower animals, we would probably kill them off to prevent them from spreading. Humanity will not allow this, but we do have the remedy of separating the sexes in asylums or other places and in various ways preventing intermarriage and the possibilities of perpetuating such a low and degenerate race.4

This is the book that Darwinists of the day insisted that Scopes had a right to teach!

All this is documented by Dr David Menton in the DVD Inherently Wind: a Hollywood History of the Scopes Trial (right).

Perhaps the most frequently asked question concerning the eugenics-inspired genocide of the Holocaust is: How could it have happened? In the 1961 MGM film Judgment at Nuremberg, about the trial of four Nazi war criminals, judges who had enforced Nazi decrees,1 one of the defendants (Judge Ernst Janning, played by Burt Lancaster) cries out to Chief Judge Dan Haywood (played by Spencer Tracy): Those peoplethose millions of peopleI never knew it would come to that. You must believe it! Haywoods response was eloquent: It came to that the first time you sentenced a man to death you knew to be innocent.

Likewise today, eugenic killing of innocent preborn babies because they are thought to be less than perfect began the first time a doctor consented to kill a handicapped child in the womb. The rest is history.

The photograph (above right) comes from the first Nuremberg Trial (19456), the most famous and significant of them because it tried the main German leaders. Front row (left-to-right): Hermann Gring, Rudolf Hess, Joachim von Ribbentrop, Wilhelm Keitel; Back row: Karl Dnitz, Erich Raeder, Baldur von Schirach, Fritz Sauckel. (Courtesy Wikipedia)

Not all evolutionists are murderers, of course, and Francis Galton may never have conceived that his theories would lead to the killing of so many millions of people, let alone the onslaught on defenceless unborn babies. However, such action is totally consistent with evolutionary teaching, namely the survival of the fittest by the elimination of the weakest. Deeds are the outcome of beliefs. As Jesus said: A bad tree bears bad fruit; it cannot bear good fruit (Matthew 7:1718).

Contrary to the deadly philosophy of eugenics, every human person has eternal value in Gods sight and has been created in the image of God (Genesis 1:2627). God also explicitly forbade murder (Exodus 20:13), or intentional killing of innocent humans. Indeed, God so loved humanity that He sent His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, to die on the Cross to save us from sin (John 3:1617), and to transform us into the image of His Son when we believe on Him (Romans 8:29; 2 Corinthians 3:18). In Jesus, the Second Person of the Trinity took on human nature (Hebrews 2:14), becoming the Last Adam (1 Corinthians 15:45), thus becoming the (kinsman-) Redeemer (Isaiah 59:20) of the race of the first man, Adam.

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Eugenics | definition of eugenics by Medical dictionary

eugenics [u-jeniks]

the study and control of procreation as a means of improving hereditary characteristics of future generations. The concept has sometimes been used in a pseudoscientific way as an excuse for unethical, racist, or even genocidal practices such as involuntary sterilization or certain other practices in Nazi Germany and elsewhere.

macro eugenics eugenics policies that affect whole populations or groups. This has sometimes led to racism and genocide, such as the Nazi policies of sterilization and extermination of ethnic groups.

micro eugenics eugenics policies affecting only families or kinship groups; such policies are directed mainly at women and thus raise special ethical issues.

negative eugenics that concerned with prevention of reproduction by individuals considered to have inferior or undesirable traits.

positive eugenics that concerned with promotion of optimal mating and reproduction by individuals considered to have desirable or superior traits.

1. Practices and policies, as of mate selection or of sterilization, which tend to better the innate qualities of progeny and human stock.

2. Practices and genetic counseling directed to anticipating genetic disability and disease.

[G. eugeneia, nobility of birth, fr. eu, well, + genesis, production]

The study or practice of attempting to improve the human gene pool by encouraging the reproduction of people considered to have desirable traits and discouraging or preventing the reproduction of people considered to have undesirable traits.

eugenic adj.

eugenically adv.

Etymology: Gk, eu + genein, to produce

the study of methods for controlling the characteristics of populations through selective breeding.

1. Practices and policies, as in mate selection or sterilization, which tend to better the innate qualities of progeny and human stock.

2. Practices and genetic counseling directed to anticipating genetic disability and disease.

[G. eugeneia, nobility of birth, fr. eu, well, + genesis, production]

A social movement in which the population of a society, country, or the world is to be improved by controlling the passing on of hereditary information through mating.

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Eugenics | definition of eugenics by Medical dictionary

Winston-Salem Journal: Against Their Will

ABOUT THE SERIES:The full story of North Carolina’s ambitious sterilization program has never been told. It’s been hidden behind sealed records. It’s a story of pain and prejudice, and of good intentions and arrogance. It’s a legacy that survivors still carry. With little oversight, the Eugenics Board of North Carolina ordered the sterilization of thousands of the state’s most vulnerable citizens. Like programs elsewhere, the N.C. board began with high hopes of building a better society. But it evolved into something altogether different and troubling.

In December of 2002, the Winston-Salem Journal published a five-part series, Against Their Will, that examined in stunning detail North Carolinas eugenics program, whose goal was the systematic elimination of undesirable genetic strains in the population.

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Winston-Salem Journal: Against Their Will

Eugenics | NCpedia

Portions excerpted from Guide to Research Materials in the North Carolina State Archives: State Agency Records. North Carolina Division of Archives and History, 1995

See also: Eugenics board; Eugenics legislation in North Carolina

The eugenics movement of the early twentieth century grew out of the research and writings of the English scientist, Sir Francis Galton (1822-1911). Galton, the half-cousin of Charles Darwin, had a variety of interests included psychology, genetics, and statistics. Among his beliefs was the idea that government intervention could help promote the biological improvement of humans.

As part of the movement many states, including North Carolina, enacted laws that allowed sterilization of the “mentally diseased, feeble minded or epileptic.” In 1929, the North Carolina General Assembly authorized the governing body or executive head of any penal or charitable public institution to order the sterilization of any patient or inmate when such an operation was deemed to be in the best interest of an individual or for the public good. Additionally, the county boards of commissioners were authorized to order sterilization at public expense of any mentally defective or feeble-minded resident upon receiving a petition from the individual’s next of kin or legal guardian.

Each order for sterilization was required to be reviewed and approved by the commissioner of the Board of Charities and Public Welfare, the secretary of the State Board of Health, and the chief medical officers of any two state institutions for the feeble-minded or insane. A medical and family history of the patient or inmate was attached to the order to provide information and guidance for the reviewers.

In 1933 the General Assembly created the Eugenics Board of North Carolina to review all cases involving the sterilization of mentally diseased, feeble-minded, or epileptic patients, inmates, or non-institutionalized individuals. The five members of the board included the commissioner of the Board of Charities and Public Welfare, the secretary of the State Board of Health, the chief medical officer of a state institution for the feeble-minded or insane (appointed by the other board members), the chief medical officer of the State Hospital at Raleigh, and the attorney general.

In hearings that involved patients or inmates in a public institution, the executive head of that institution (or his representative) acted as prosecutor in presenting the case to the board. Hearings that concerned non-institutionalized individuals were prosecuted by the county superintendent of welfare or another authorized county official. Along with the petition for a hearing, the prosecutor provided a medical history signed by a physician who was familiar with the case and a social history addressing whether the person was likely to produce offspring.

A copy of the petition was sent to the individual and his or her next of kin or guardian. When the inmate, patient, or other individual could not defend himself or herself at the hearing, the next of kin, guardian, or county solicitor represented the individual and defended that person’s rights and interests. The county superior court could appoint a guardian if necessary. Individuals could also be represented by legal counsel during the hearing.

Factors to be considered by the board included whether the operation seemed to be in the best interest of the individual’s mental, moral, or physical health; whether it would be for the public good; and whether it was likely that the individual might produce children with serious mental or physical problems. Orders for sterilization had to be signed by at least three members of the board and returned to the prosecutor. Mentally competent individuals, at their own expense, could select their own physician for consultation or for an operation. A decision by the board could be appealed by the individual or in his or her behalf to the county superior court and further appealed to the state’s supreme court. A successful appeal precluded any further petition for the sterilization for one year unless specifically requested by the individual, or by his or her guardian or next of kin.

In 1937 the General Assembly authorized any state hospital, at the discretion of the superintendent, to provide temporary admission for any feeble-minded, epileptic, or mentally diseased person for whom the Eugenics Board had authorized sterilization. The regular or consulting staff of the hospital could then perform the operation. These hospitals were authorized to charge the appropriate state institution or county for the operation and expenses.

Under the Executive Organization Act of 1971, the Eugenics Board of North Carolina was transferred to the newly created Department of Human Resources (DHR). Although the board retained its statutory powers and actions regarding sterilization proceedings, the board’s managerial and executive authority was vested in the secretary of the DHR, a cabinet-level officer appointed by the governor.

Under the Executive Organization Act of 1973, the Eugenics Board became the Eugenics Commission. The following five members of the commission were to be appointed by the governor: the director of the Division of Social and Rehabilitative Services of the DHR, the director of Health Services, the chief medical officer of a state institution for the feeble-minded or insane, the chief medical officer of the DHR in the area of mental health services, and the attorney general.

In 1974 the General Assembly transferred to the judicial system the responsibility for any sterilization proceedings against persons suffering from mental illness or mental retardation. In 1977 the General Assembly formally abolished the Eugenics Commission, and the act to repeal the original laws (G.S. 35-36 through 35-50) was finally passed in 2003.

References and additional resources:

Against their will: North Carolina’s sterilization program. Winston-Salem Journal and Journalnow.com. http://againsttheirwill.journalnow.com/

Engs, Ruth. 2005. The eugenics movement: An encyclopedia. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/57695013

NCDigitalCollections resources (Government & Heritage Library andNCState Archives)

Historical data on eugenical sterilization in North Carolina. 1968. Excerpt from the Biennial Report of the Eugenics Board of North Carolina.http://digital.ncdcr.gov/cdm/ref/collection/p249901coll22/id/257367- page 23. See also Number of cases handled from 1964-1973.

Image archive on the American eugenics movement. Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. http://www.eugenicsarchive.org/eugenics/

Larson, Edward J. 1995. Sex, race, and science: Eugenics in the deep South. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/30700958

Rosen, Christine. 2004. Preaching eugenics: Religious leaders and the American eugenics movement. Oxford: Oxford University Press. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/52311882

Schoen, Johanna. 2005. Choice & coercion: Birth control, sterilization, and abortion in public health and welfare. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/56085957

Image credit:

Sir Francis Galton. Image courtesy of the Wikipedia commons. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Francis_Galton_1850s.jpg

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Eugenics | NCpedia

eugenics | Hoosier State Chronicles: Indiana’s Digital …

From 1917 into the 1920s, Hoosier movie-goers had a chance to see one of the most controversial and arguably infamous silent films ever produced, The Black Stork, later renamed Are You Fit To Marry? Identified by one film historian as among the earliest horror movies,The Black Stork was based on a real and gut-wrenching medical drama from 1915.

Billed as a eugenics love story, the movies script was authored by Chicago journalist, muckraker and theater critic Jack Lait. Lait worked for news mogul William Randolph Hearst, the very man who inspired the lead figure in Orson Welles great1941 movie Citizen Kane. Hearst, king of American yellow journalism, relished controversies, which sold newspapers and theater tickets. His film company, International Film Service, produced The Black Stork.

Most Americans today have never heard the word eugenics, a once-popular scientific theory spawned by Victorian understandings of evolution and heredity in the wake of Charles Darwin. The word eugenics comes from the Greek for well-born or good stock and refers to the social interpretation of scientific discoveries purporting to show how harmful genetic traits are passed on from parents to children and how healthy children could be bred. Eugenics wasnt strictly the same as science itself, but a social philosophy based on the discoveriesof Darwin, the monk-botanist Gregor Mendel, and Darwins nephew, geneticist Francis Galton. Yet many scientists and doctors got involved with this social philosophy.

Once very mainstream, support for eugenic theories plummeted after the defeat of Hitler, its most notoriousadvocate. Aspects of eugenics like the forced sterilization of repeat criminals, rapists, epileptics, the poor, and some African Americans continued in twenty-sevenAmerican states into the 1950s and even later in a few. The last forced sterilization in the U.S. was performed in Oregon in 1981.

(U.S. eugenics advocacy poster, 1926. The authors rankedjust4% of Americans as high-grade and fit for creative work and leadership.)

Most scientists today would probably consider the social application of genetics to beoutside their own realm, but that wasnt always the case. Indiana played an enormous role in the history of eugenics when the Hoosier State became the first to enact a compulsory sterilization law in 1907 a law that lumped the mentally handicapped in with sex offenders, made it virtually illegal for whole classes deemed unfit to reproduce, segregated many of the disabled into mental hospitals, and enshrined white supremacy. Though the Indiana law was struck down in 1921, those ideas were hugelypopular with many academics and activists all across the political spectrum.

(American eugenic scientists blamed murder rateson heredity, ethnicity, and imaginary racial types like Dinaric and Alpine. Pure Nordic, the type idealized by Hitler, was deemed the least prone to criminal activity. Time would prove that theory wrong.)

Whats especially disturbing is that the Indiana Eugenics Law wasnt pushed by stereotypical white racist hillbillies.Poor white Indianapolis slum-dwellers, in fact, were very much targeted by the eugenicists of the early 20th century. Promoters of these spurious theoriesincluded mainstream biologists, doctors, many reform-minded Progressives, womens rights advocates, college presidents, even a few Christian ministers and Socialists. The list of widely-admired people who spoke out in favor of simplistic eugenic proposalsincluded Helen Keller, Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Sir Winston Churchill, Planned Parenthoods founder Margaret Sanger, author Jack London, IU and Stanford University president David Starr Jordan, Alexander Graham Bell, and the civil rights activist W.E.B. DuBois. One of the only well-known anti-eugenics crusaders was Senator William Jennings Bryan, a Christian Fundamentalist who lost caste with Progressives in the 1920s foropposing the teaching of evolution.

Eugenics, however, was neither liberal nor conservative. Americans of all political stripes upheld its basic premise the preservation of social order and the engineering of more a humane society. Strong support for eugenics came from Americans concerned about the proliferation of poverty and urban crime and who sought a reason to keep certain nationalities from entering the U.S. Eugenics did not begin to go out of favor until 1935, whenscientists fromthe Carnegie Institute in Washington demonstrated the flimsiness of other scientists work at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory on Long Island. Yet even as eugenicists placed human reproduction on the level of horse- and livestock-breeding, the genetic abolition of any individual deemed feeble-minded andthe destruction of hereditary and sexually-transmitted diseases was packaged as a positive goal, a social benefit to all, even to those who underwent involuntarysterilization and were occasionally killed.

(Better Baby contest, Indiana State Fair, 1931. Eugenicists put reproduction and marriage on the level of agriculture and sought to manage human beings like a farm. Better Baby contests began at the Iowa State Fair in 1911.)

Euthanasia was one component of eugenics. Alongside the positive eugenics campaign for Better Babies and Fitter Families, negative eugenics partly revolved around the controversial view that infants born with severe disabilities should be left to die or killed outright. In 1915, a case in Chicago plunged Americans into a heated debate about medical ethics.

That November,Dr.Harry J. Haiselden, chief surgeon at the German-American Hospital in Chicago, was faced with a tough dilemma. A woman named Anna Bollinger had just given birth to a child, John, who suffered from severe birth defects. John had no neck or right ear and suffered from a serious skin ailment, all judged to be the result of syphilis likely passed on by his father. Dr. Haiselden knew that he could save the childs life througha surgical procedure. But since he was familiar with the conditions into which Illinois feeble-minded were thrown after birth, he convinced the childs parents to let John die at the hospital. When the news came out that the doctor wasnt going to perform the necessary surgery, an unknown person tried to kidnap the child and take it to another hospital. The kidnapping attempt failed and John Bollinger died.

(The South Bend News-Times called Baby Bollinger a martyr, but later carried advertisements for the doctors film.)

While the Catholic Church, one of the few vocalcritics of eugenics, was the only major group to initiallyprotest the surgeons decision, Haiselden was soon called before a medical ethics board in Chicago. He nearly lost his medical license, but managed to hang onto it. Public opinion was sharply divided. Chicago social worker and suffragette Jane Addams came out against Haiselden. Short of the death penalty for murder, Addams said, no doctor had the right to be an unwilling persons executioner. It is not for me to decide whether a child should be put to death. If it is a defective, it should be treated as such, and be taught all it can learn, she added.

Many of Haiseldens critics, such asAddams, pointed out that if eugenicists had had their way, they would have killed some of the great defectives in history, like Russian novelist Fyodor Dostoyevksy, French emperor Napoleon Bonaparte, childrens writer Edward Lear, and even the eugenicist Harry Laughlin himself all of them epileptics. (Biologist Laughlin, Superintendent of the Eugenics Record Office at Cold Spring Harbor and one of the sciencesgreatest advocates, had suffered from epilepsy since childhood.)

Support for Dr. Haiselden, however, came from many famous social activists. Among them was Helen Keller advocate for the disabled, a Socialist, and a eugenics supporter (at least in 1915.) Keller, who was blind and deaf since the age of one but thrived against all odds,published her views on the Haiselden case in The New Republic. She thought that children proven to be idiots by a jury of expert physicians could and perhaps should be put to death. (Keller was an amazing woman, but its hard not to view her trust in the opinions of unprejudiced medical experts as naive.) Chicago lawyer and civil liberties crusader ClarenceDarrow who famously went up against eugenics critic William Jennings Bryan at the 1925 Scopes Monkey Trial made no bones about his support for the surgeon: Chloroform unfit children, Darrow said. Show them the same mercy that is shown beasts that are no longer fit to live. Indiana Socialist Eugene V. Debs also supported Haiseldens decision.

(Clarence Darrow and Helen Keller supported Haiselden.)

Harry Haiselden held ontohis job, but bolstered his position and kept the firestorm of public discussion brewing by starring as himself in a silent film based on the Bollinger case. The Black Storkwas produced with the help of William Randolph Hearts International Film Service. Scriptwriter Jack Lait would go on to edit the New York Daily Mirrorand write several plays and novels.

The Black Stork came to hundreds of American theaters, including many Hoosier ones. Because public health workers and eugenicists often gave admonitory lectures before and after the movie, separate showings were offeredfor men and women. Young children werent allowed to attend, but a South Carolina minister encouraged parents to bring their teenage children so they could see what might comefrom sexual promiscuity, criminality, drinkingand race mixing. Some theater bills added the catchy subtitle: The Scourge of Humanity.

(The Black Storkenjoyed several screenings at the Oliver Theater in South Bend. South Bend News-Times, November 9, 1917.)

The movies plot was partly fictional and not entirely based on the 1915 Bollinger euthanasia case.The Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette gave its readers the basic story line, which came with an interesting twistnearthe end:

(The Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette, August 12, 1917.)

The taint of the Black Stork was obviously bad genes and heritable diseases. Haiseldens silent film has been called one of the earliest horror movies, though its promoters billed it as educational and even romantic in nature. It fueled the eugenics movements fear campaign about defectives but also tackled an ethical dilemma thats still alive today: is it ever humane to kill a person without their permission, on the grounds that the victim isdoomedto live a miserable life and be only a burden on society?

Since American eugenics was definitely supported by known racists and would later be directly cited by the Nazis as inspiration for their bogusracial science, its uncomfortable to look deeper into it and realize how much turf it shares with Progressivists real concern for the treatment of the poor and of mothers, some of whom would have been forced to raise severely disabled children. The problem is that some Americansthought the best way to eradicate poverty and disease was toeradicate the poor themselves by restricting their right to pass on the human germ plasm to the next generation. Eugenics and even euthanasia became, for some, a way to avoid social reforms. Nurture vs. nature lost out to inescapable hereditary destiny.

The Black Storkstitle was eventually changed to Are You Fit To Marry? It ran in theaters and roadshows well into the Roaring Twenties. Its hard to believe that eugenicists begged Americans to ask themselves honestly if they were fit to marry. One wonders how many Americans voluntarily abstained from having children after deeming themselves unfit?

Ads show that thefilm was screened at at least three theaters in Indianapolis (including Englishs Theatre on Monument Circle) as well as at movie halls in Fort Wayne, East Chicago, Whiting, Hammond, Evansville, Richmond and probably many other Hoosier towns.

(The Fort Wayne Sentinel, January 27, 1920.)

The eugenics photo-drama reminded Americans of the dangers that bad heredity posed not onlyto their own families, but to the nation. When The Black Storkshowed in Elyria, Ohio,justa few months into Americas involvement in World War I, it clearly drew fromthe well of fear-mongering that linked crime and disease to alcohol, immigration, prostitution and rumors about German traitors and saboteurs all clear threats to Anglo-Saxon ideals. Eugenics and euthanasia, by saving our nation from misery and decay, clearly got hitched to the wagon of nationalist politics. Viewing The Black Stork,like supporting the war effort, became a solemn duty.

(The Chronicle-Telegram, Elyria, Ohio, December 17, 1917.)

Germanscientists were promoting racial hygiene long before the Nazis came to power in the 1930s. Fascisms scientists and propagandists would also draw heavily on the work of British and American eugenicists and point out laws like Indianas when opponents criticized them. Racial Hygiene, in fact,was the title of an influential textbook by Hoosier doctor Thurman B. Rice, a professor at IU-Bloomington, a colleague of sex researcher Alfred Kinsey, and one of the founders of IU Medical School in Indianapolis. In April 1929, Rice wrote an editorial in the Indiana State Board of Healths monthly bulletin, entitled If I Were Mussolini, where he supported compulsory sterilization of defectives.

(If I Were Mussolini, Monthly Bulletin of theIndiana State Board of Health, April 1929.)

The Black Storkwasnt the last filmabout euthanasia and eugenics. In 1941, Hitlers Propaganda Minister, Joseph Goebbels, commissionedoneof the classics of Nazi cinema, Ich klage an (I Accuse). The plot revolves around a husband who learns that his wife has been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. He gives her a drug that causesher death, then undergoes a trial for murder. The films producers argued that death was not only a right but a social duty. A tearjerker, Ich klage an was createdto soften up the German public for the Nazis T4 euthanasia campaign, which led to the deaths of as many as 200,000 adults and children deemed a burden to the nation. (Theres some further irony thatIch klage ans cinematic parent, The Black Stork, was based onevents at Chicagos German-American Hospital.)

The charms of eugenics bewitched Americans and Europeans for a few more decades after the Bollinger case. British writer G.K. Chesterton, a Catholic convert and a fierce opponent of eugenics, probably deserves the last word here. Chestertoncalled eugenics terrorism by tenth-rate professors.

(G.K. Chesterton in South Bend, Indiana,October 1930, when he was awarded an honorary doctorate from Notre Dame. Dr. Harry Haiselden himself once gave an address to South BendsFork and Knife Club in May 1916.)

In his 1922 book Eugenics and Other Evils: An Argument Against the Scientifically Organized State, Chesterton quipped that society has never really had all that much to fear from the feeble-minded. Rather, its the strong-mindedwho hurt society the most. Tearing into eugenicsadvocates in Britain, Germany and America, Chesterton spotlighted their frequent class prejudices thenskewered them brilliantly:

Why do not the promoters of the Feeble-Minded Bill call at the many grand houses in town and country where such nightmares notoriously are? Why do they not knock at the door and take the bad squire away? Why do they not ring the bell and remove the dipsomaniac prize-fighter? I do not know; and there is only one reason I can think of, which must remain a matter of speculation. When I was at school, the kind of boy who liked teasing half-wits was not the sort that stood up to bullies.

Dr. Harry J. Haiselden was involved in the deaths of at least three more disabled infants. He died of a cerebral hemorrhage while on vacation in Havana, Cuba, in 1919.

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Eugenics Exhibit 2.4 | Eugenics: Three Generations, No …

Kallikak family of New Jersey Normal and Degenerate Lines. photo credit: Courtesy of the American Philosophical Society.

Sample pedigree chart showing use of symbols to represent genetically defined proclivity for allergies, asthma, and excema or for civic and religious leadership. photo credit: Courtesy of the American Philosophical Society.

A.B.W. family music pedigree chart. photo credit: Courtesy of Paul A. Lombardo.

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Eugenics Board of North Carolina – Wikipedia, the free …

The Eugenics Board of North Carolina (EBNC) was a State Board of the state of North Carolina formed in July 1933 by the North Carolina State Legislature by the passage of House Bill 1013, entitled ‘An Act to Amend Chapter 34 of the Public Laws of 1929 of North Carolina Relating to the Sterilization of Persons Mentally Defective’.[1] This Bill formally repealed a 1929 law,[2] which had been ruled as unconstitutional by the North Carolina Supreme Court earlier in the year.

Over time, the scope of the Board’s work broadened from a focus on pure eugenics to considering sterilization as a tool to combat poverty and welfare costs. Its original purpose was to oversee the practice of sterilization as it pertained to inmates or patients of public-funded institutions that were judged to be ‘mentally defective or feeble-minded’ by authorities. In contrast to other eugenics programs across the United States, the North Carolina Board enabled county departments of public welfare to petition for the sterilization of their clients.[3] The Board remained in operation until 1977. During its existence thousands of individuals were sterilized. In 1977 the N.C. General Assembly repealed the laws authorizing its existence,[4] though it would not be until 2003 that the involuntary sterilization laws that underpinned the Board’s operations were repealed.[5]

Today the Board’s work is repudiated by people across the political, scientific and private spectrum.[citation needed] In 2013, North Carolina passed legislation to compensate those sterilized under the Board’s jurisdiction.[6][7]

The board was made up of five members:[1]

The State of North Carolina first enacted sterilization legislation in 1919.[8] The 1919 law was the first foray for North Carolina into eugenics; this law, entitled “An Act to Benefit the Moral, Mental, or Physical Conditions of Inmates of Penal and Charitable Institutions” was quite brief, encompassing only 4 sections. Provision was made for creation of a Board of Consultation, made up of a member of the medical staff of any of the penal or charitable State institutions, and a representative of the State Board of Health, to oversee sterilization that was to be undertaken when “in the judgement of the board hereby created, said operation would be for the improvement of the mental, moral or physical conditions of any inmate of any of the said institutions”. The Board of Consultation would have reported to both the Governor and the Secretary of the State Board of Health. No sterilizations were performed under the provisions of this law, though its structure was to guide following legislation.[8]

In 1929, two years after the landmark US Supreme Court ruling of Buck v. Bell[9] in which sterilization was ruled permissible under the U.S. Constitution, North Carolina passed an updated law[2] that formally laid down rules for the sterilization of citizens. This law, entitled “An Act to Provide For the Sterilization of the Mentally Defective and Feeble-Minded Inmates of Charitable and Penal Institutions of the State of North Carolina”, was similar to the law which preceded it, although this new Act contained several new provisions.[2]

In contrast to the 1919 law, which had mandated sterilization for the “improvement of the mental, moral or physical condition of any inmate”, the new law added a new and far-reaching condition: “Or for the public good.” This condition, expanding beyond the individual to greater considerations of society, would be built on in the ensuing years.[2]

The 1929 law also expanded the review process to four reviewers, namely: The Commissioner of Charities and Public Welfare of North Carolina, The Secretary of the State Board of Health of North Carolina, and the Chief Medical Officers of any two institutions for the “feeble-minded or insane” for the State of North Carolina.[2]

Lastly, the new law also explicitly stated that sterilization, where performed under the Act’s guidelines, would be lawful and that any persons who requested, authorized or directed proceedings would not be held criminally or civilly liable for actions taken. Under the 1929 law, 49 recorded cases took place in which sterilization was performed.[10]

In 1933, the North Carolina State Supreme Court heard Brewer v. Valk,[11] an appeal from Forsyth County Superior Court, in which the Supreme Court upheld that the 1929 law violated both the U.S. Constitution’s 14th Amendment and Article 1, Section 17 of the 1868 North Carolina State Constitution.[12] The Supreme Court noted that property rights required due process, specifically a mechanism by which notice of action could be given, and hearing rights established so that somebody subject to the sterilization law had the opportunity to appeal their case. Under both the U.S. Constitution and the N.C. State Constitution in place at the time, the Supreme Court ruled that the 1929 law was unconstitutional as no such provisions existed in the law as written.[11]

The North Carolina General Assembly went on in the wake of Brewer v. Valk to enact House Bill 1013,[1] removing the constitutional objections to the law, thereby forming the Eugenics Board and creating the framework which would remain in force for over thirty years. The Board was granted authority over all sterilization proceedings undertaken in the State, which had previously been devolved to various governing bodies or heads of penal and charitable institutions supported in whole or in part by the State.[2]

In the 1970s the Eugenics Board was moved around from department to department, as sterilization operations declined in the state. In 1971, an act of the legislature transferred the EBNC to the then newly created Department of Human Resources (DHR), and the secretary of that department was given managerial and executive authority over the board.[13]

Under a 1973 law, the Eugenics Board was transformed into the Eugenics Commission. Members of the commission were appointed by the governor, and included the director of the Division of Social and Rehabilitative Services of the DHR, the director of Health Services, the chief medical officer of a state institution for the feeble-minded or insane, the chief medical officer of the DHR in the area of mental health services, and the state attorney general.

In 1974 the legislature transferred to the judicial system the responsibility for any proceedings.

1976 brought a new challenge to the law with the case of In re Sterilization of Joseph Lee Moore[14] in which an appeal was heard by the North Carolina Supreme Court. The petitioner’s case was that the court had not appointed counsel at State expense to advise him of his rights prior to sterilization being performed. While the court noted that there was discretion within the law to approve a fee for the service of an expert, it was not constitutionally required. The court went on to declare that the involuntary sterilization of citizens for the public good was a legitimate use of the police power of the state, further noting that “The people of North Carolina have a right to prevent the procreation of children who will become a burden on the state.” The ruling upholding the constitutionality was notable in both its relatively late date (many other States had ceased performing sterilization operations shortly after WWII) and its language justifying state intervention on the grounds of children being a potential burden to the public.[14]

The Eugenics Commission was formally abolished by the legislature in 1977.[4][15]

In 2003, the N.C. General Assembly formally repealed the last involuntary sterilization law, replacing it with one that authorizes sterilization of individuals unable to give informed consent only in the case of medical necessity. The law explicitly ruled out sterilizations “solely for the purpose of sterilization or for hygiene or convenience.”[5][16]

At the time of the Board’s formation there was a body of thought that viewed the practice of eugenics as both necessary for the public good and for the private citizen. Following Buck v. Bell, the Supreme Court was often cited both domestically and internationally as a foundation for eugenics policies.

In Buck v. Bell Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote, in support of eugenics policy, that

We have seen more than once that the public welfare may call upon the best citizens for their lives. It would be strange if it could not call upon those who already sap the strength of the State for these lesser sacrifices, often not felt to be such by those concerned, to prevent our being swamped with incompetence. It is better for all the world, if instead of waiting to execute degenerate offspring for crime, or to let them starve for their imbecility, society can prevent those who are manifestly unfit from continuing their kind. The principle that sustains compulsory vaccination is broad enough to cover cutting the Fallopian tubes.[9]

Despite the Supreme Court rulings in support of eugenics as constitutionally permitted, even as late as 1950 some physicians in North Carolina were still concerned about the legality of sterilization. Efforts were made to reassure the medical community that the laws were both constitutionally sound and specifically exempting physicians from liability.[17]

Framing eugenics as supporting the public good was fundamental to how the law was written. It was argued that both for the benefit of the private citizen, and for the costs to society of future possible childbirths, eugenics were a sound and moral way to proceed. This was stated in the Board’s manual of policies and procedures, in which the practice was justified:[18]

No Place For Sentimentality

There can be no place for sentimentality in solving the problems of the mental health of our citizens. We would be less than human were we to feel no compassion for our unfortunates. But it is a peculiar paradox of human nature that while the best stock of our people is being lost on the battle fronts of the world, we make plans for the betterment and the coddling of our defectives.

In the press, opinion articles were published arguing for a greater use of eugenics, in which many of the reasons above were cited as justification. Even the Winston-Salem Journal, which would be a significant force in illuminating North Carolina’s past eugenics abuses in the modern era, was not immune. In 1948 the newspaper published an editorial entitled “The Case for Sterilization – Quantity vs. Quality” that went into great detail extolling the virtues of ‘breeding’ for the general public good.[20]

North Carolina’s Selective Sterilization Law


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Proponents of eugenics did not restrict its use to the ‘feeble-minded’. In many cases, more ardent authors included the blind, deaf-mutes, and people suffering from diseases like heart disease or cancer in the general category of those who should be sterilized.[22] The argument was twofold; that parents likely to give birth to ‘defective’ children should not allow it, and that healthy children borne to ‘defective’ parents would be doomed to an ‘undesirable environment’.[23]

Wallace Kuralt, Mecklenburg County’s welfare director from 1945 to 1972, was a leader in transitioning the work of state eugenics from looking only at medical conditions to considering poverty as a justification for state sterilization. Under Kuralt’s tenure, Mecklenburg county became far and away the largest source of sterilizations in the state. He supported this throughout his life in his writings and interviews, where he made plain his conviction that sterilization was a force for good in fighting poverty. In a 1964 interview with the Charlotte Observer, Kuralt said:

“When we stop to reflect upon the thousands of physical, mental and social misfits in our midst, the thousands of families which are too large for the family to support, the one-tenth of our children born to an unmarried mother, the hoard of children rejected by parents, is there any doubt that health, welfare and education agencies need to redouble their efforts to prevent these conditions which are so costly to society?”[19][24]

Among public and private groups that published articles advocating for eugenics, the Human Betterment League was a significant advocate for the procedure within North Carolina. This organization, founded by Procter & Gamble heir Clarence Gamble provided experts, written material and monetary support to the eugenics movement. Many pamphlets and publications were created by the league advocating the groups position which were then distributed throughout the state. One pamphlet entitled ‘You Wouldn’t Expect…’ laid out a series of rhetorical questions to argue the point that those considered ‘defective’ were unable to be good parents.[21]

While it is not known exactly how many people were sterilized during the lifetime of the law, the Task Force established by Governor Beverly Perdue estimated the total at around 7,500. They provided a summary of the estimated number of operations broken down by time period. This does not include sterilizations that may have occurred at a local level by doctors and hospitals.[10][25]

The report went on to provide a breakdown by county. There were no counties in North Carolina that performed no operations, though the spread was marked, going from as few as 4 in Tyrrell county, to 485 in Mecklenburg county.[10]

Some research into the historical data in North Carolina has drawn links between race and sterilization rates. One study performed in 2010 by Gregory Price and William Darity Jr described the practice as “racially biased and genocidal”. In the study, the researchers showed that as the black population of a county increased, the number of sterilizations increased disproportionately; that black citizens were more likely, all things being equal, to being recommended for sterilization than whites.[26]

Poverty and sterilization were also closely bound. Since social workers concerned themselves with those accepting welfare and other public assistance, there was a strong impetus to recommending sterilization to families as a means of controlling their economic situation. This was sometimes done under duress, when benefits were threatened as a condition of undergoing the surgery.[27]

What made the picture more complicated was the fact that in some cases, individuals sought out sterilization. Since those in poverty had fewer choices for birth control, having a state-funded procedure to guarantee no further children was attractive to some mothers. Given the structure of the process however, women found themselves needing to be described as unfit mothers or welfare burdens in order to qualify for the program, rather than simply asserting reproductive control.[3]

Many stories from those directly affected by the Board’s work have come to light over the past several years. During the hearings from the NC Justice for Sterilization Victims Foundation many family members and individuals personally testified to the impact that the procedures had had on them.

NCEB Case Summary: Elaine Riddick

This thirteen year old girl expects her first child in March 1968….She has never done any work and gets along so poorly with others that her school experience was poor. Because of Elaine’s inability to control herself, and her promiscuity – there are community reports of her “running around” and out late at night unchaperoned, the physician has advised sterilization….This will at least prevent additional children from being born to this child who cannot care for herself, and can never function in any way as a parent.

Elaine Riddick is a fifty-one-year-old African American woman who was born in Perquimans County, North Carolina. Born into a poor family, one of seven children, the family was split up by the County Welfare department after her parents were deemed to be unfit. Elaine and one sister were sent to live with her grandmother, while the remaining five were sent to an orphanage. It was shortly after this family upheaval, when Elaine was 13, that she was raped by a 20-year-old man with a history of assault and incarceration. Elaine subsequently became pregnant.

When the social worker, Marion Payne, assigned to the Riddick family found out that Elaine was pregnant,[29] she pressured Elaine’s grandmother into signing a consent form for sterilization (Riddick’s grandmother, being illiterate, signed the form with a simple ‘X’ symbol). On March 5, 1968, when Elaine was 14 years old, she was sterilized under the authority of the board. The procedure took place hours after Elaine had given birth to a son.[30] Riddick learned only years later the extent of the procedure, testifying to its effect over her life in a lawsuit brought against the state of North Carolina with the assistance of the ACLU in 1974. She cited failed relationships, physical pain and suffering, and psychological trauma. Unfortunately for Riddick, her lawsuit did not end in success; a jury found against her, and the NC Supreme court refused to hear her case. It would not be until the hearings of the NC Justice for Sterilization Victims Foundation that her story was to be widely heard once more.[31][32]

Junius Wilson was born in 1908 in North Carolina and grew up near Wilmington. In 1916 he was sent to the North Carolina School for the Colored Deaf and the Blind, a segregated state school in Raleigh that was the first southern school for black deaf children. Since this was a segregated school, students there were not given the resources of other schools. They were not taught American Sign Language and developed their own system of communication. This worked within the institution, but because it was their own, it did not travel, and so students and deaf from other schools were unable to understand them.[33]

Wilson stayed there for six years, learning rudimentary sign language, until a minor infraction lead to his expulsion. While at home in Castle Hayne, Wilson came to the attention of the legal system when he was accused of the attempted rape of a relative. It is unclear whether the charge had merit – biographers speculated that his misunderstood behavior stemming from communication difficulties may have led to the situation – but what is not in doubt is that in 1925 Wilson was declared legally insane by a court and committed to the state Hospital for the Colored Insane in Goldsboro, North Carolina, which became Cherry Hospital in 1959.[34] In 1932 he was surgically castrated under the provisions of the eugenics laws in place.[35]

Wilson would remain committed to the state facility for decades. In 1990, he was given a new social worker, John Wasson. Wasson came to find out that not only was Wilson not mentally disabled, but that the hospital staff had known for years that he was not. To compound the situation, the legal charges against Wilson dating back to 1925 had been dismissed in 1970; put bluntly, for twenty years he had been committed to the hospital without legal justification. In interviews with hospital staff, Wasson found that it had been considered the most ‘benevolent’ course of action, since Wilson was thoroughly institutionalized at that point, with many of the same difficulties in learning and communication that had been his burden since birth.

Wasson instigated the legal challenge to Wilson’s incarceration. In 1992 Wilson was formally declared a free man. Since he had no close relatives or family members able to care for him in his advanced age, a cottage was found for him on the grounds of Cherry Hospital. Wilson would live there until his death in 2001.[36][37]

Not all who testified before the Committee were sterilized by the Eugenics Board directly. In many cases people who were sterilized were operated on by local clinics and doctors. It was argued that in many of these cases patients were not fully educated as to the nature of the procedure and were urged into it by doctors or social workers who were making judgements based upon their patients’ economic situation. Young women of limited means who had multiple children were specifically targeted for sterilization by many case workers.[38]

Mary English was one such case. In her personal testimony she explained that in 1972, she had been newly divorced with three children. She went to see a doctor at a Fayetteville OB/GYN clinic for some medical complaints. The doctor offered her entry into a program that would negate any need for future birth control. English signed the required paperwork, and was sterilized after the birth of her third child. It was years later, when she went back to the doctor to have the procedure reversed, that she found out it was permanent.[39]

English went on to detail her struggles with depression and retold experiences of friends and neighbors who had gone through similar situations at the hands of their own doctors. As for the clinic at which English was sterilized, she claimed that it was still operating, though declined to name it, or the doctor responsible for her sterilization.[40]

The Winston-Salem Journal’s “Against Their Will” documentary, released in 2002, based in part on Joanna Schoen’s research of the North Carolina Eugenics program, is credited with spurring public interest and demands for action to repeal laws and explore the possibility of compensation for affected people. This five part series gave extensive background to the work of the Eugenics Board, with detailed statistics, victim’s stories, and historical information on the broader Eugenics movement in the United States in the Post-WWII era.[29]

Then-Governor Mike Easley offered an apology to victims of the policy in 2002. At the time, North Carolina was the third State in the nation to officially apologize for eugenics practices, following behind Virginia and Oregon though North Carolina was the first State to go beyond a formal apology to actively considering compensation in some form.[41] Easley set up a committee to study the history of the Eugenics Board with instructions to provide recommendations on how to handle what it termed ‘program survivors’. The committee recommended five specific steps:[42]

The recommendations lay dormant in the North Carolina Legislature until 2008, when a study committee was appointed. The House Committee gave its own recommendations which in large part mirrored Easley’s committee’s findings though it went further, in establishing a suggested dollar figure of $20,000 compensation per surviving victim. The House committee also recommended training, the creation of memorials, and documenting survivor experiences, and the creation of a database to store sterilization records for future research. While the House committee recommended setting funds aside for these purposes, the Legislature did not grant funding in 2008.[43] The house committee was co-chaired by State Representative Larry Womble, who has been a public advocate in the state house for victim’s compensation. Womble announced he would be stepping down and not seek re-election after a horrific car crash in late 2011.[44][45]

In 2008, Beverley Perdue was elected Governor of North Carolina. As part of her platform she pledged to take up the sterilization situation.[46] In 2010 Perdue issued an executive order that formed the North Carolina Justice for Sterilization Victims Foundation (NCJSVF).[47]

The Task Force was made up of the following:[6]

The Foundation recommended that compensation be raised to $50,000 per victim, in a 3-2 vote. They also voted for funds for mental health services and historical displays and exhibits documenting the history of sterilization in the state.[10] It is not yet clear how many victims will be satisfied by the amount; many have granted detailed interviews that documented their severe emotional trauma in the wake of the procedures, and have been outspoken in demanding higher sums.[48]

On April 25, 2012, North Carolina’s Gov. Perdue announced that she will put $10.3 million in her budget proposal to allocate towards issues surrounding eugenics. The funds are intended to aid with $50,000 payments to verified North Carolina eugenics victims. The remainder of the monies will be used to support the continued efforts of the NC Justice for Sterilization Victims Foundation as they provide outreach and clearinghouse services to help Eugenics victims. Governor Perdue stated,[49]

We cannot change the terrible things that happened to so many of our most vulnerable citizens, but we can take responsibility for our states mistakes and show that we do not tolerate violations of basic human rights. We must provide meaningful assistance to victims, so I am including this funding in my budget.

Gov. Perdue’s budget proposal is in accordance with the recommendations of the January 2012 final report issued from the Eugenics Compensation Task Force. The board suggested that living victims and those who were not deceased when verified by the foundation receive a tax-free, lump sum payment of $50,000. The N.C. Justice for Sterilization Victims Foundation reports that there is still an increase in the number of confirmed/verified eugenics victims. As of April 25, 2012, 132 people in 51 counties had been matched to the North Carolina’s Eugenics program records.[49]

In 2013, the General Assembly of North Carolina passed an appropriations bill to give compensation, up to $50,000 per person, to individuals sterilized under the authority of the Eugenics Board of North Carolina.[7][50]

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Home | Eugenics and Other Evils

Eugenics and Other Evils is the title of a 1922 book written by author and social critic, G. K. Chesterton. His pessimistic outlook on eugenics flew in the face of the near universal view that humans finally had the tools and the know-how to re-shape civilizationand humanity itself. Just a few years earlier, on the other side of the pond, a book was published by a certain Margaret Sanger containing those optimistic themes, and urging readers to courageously accept the facts. The only thing that stood in the way of Progress was societys squeamishness. The book was The Pivot of Civilization, released in 1918.

Not more than twenty years after this, Chesterton proved right, and Sanger was left scrambling to try to find a way to keep her eugenic goals respectable. The first thing she did, in 1942, was change the name of her organization, the American Birth Control League, to Planned Parenthood.

But ironically, no one remembers Sangers sympathies to the Nazis goals and methods. Indeed, Planned Parenthood continues to this day to give a Margaret Sanger award every year! To put a finer point on it, today, the word eugenics is nearly the worst label you can put on something (the worst, of course, being Nazi), while eugenics ideas and philosophies persist.

In fact, the reader of this introduction is probably a eugenicist, at least to some degree, without even knowing it.

And that is because few know or understand what really drove the eugenics movement when it was popular and socially accepted. Because of this, not many understand that eugenics is alive and well in America and in the world, just not by that name.

Chesterton was right in linking Other Evils to Eugenics. Eugenics is, historically speaking, a whole package of interrelated ideasthings that might never cross your mind as eugenics. Nonetheless, his warnings were spot on at the time. The danger is obvious: perhaps the warnings still apply.

This website is dedicated to presenting a broader picture of eugenics, highlighting some of the lesser known components of the eugenics mindset. They may be lesser known, but they were deemed vital and central by the eugenicists themselves. We forget them at our peril.

While pop culture is totally out of touch with the true picture of eugenics (and Nazism, for that matter), contemporary scholars have been making good strides towards setting the record straight. You are encouraged to pick up some of the books on the resource page. Any one of them will prove fertile territory for further research on the real history, past and present, of eugenics.

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Eugenics in California – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Eugenics in California is a notable part of eugenics in America.

As an early leading force in the field of eugenics, California became the third state in the United States to enact a sterilization law. By 1921, California had accounted for 80% of the sterilizations nationwide. This continued until World War II, after which the number of sterilizations began to decrease, largely due to the fallout of Hitler’s eugenics movement.[1] There were about 20,000 forced sterilizations in California between 1909 and 1963.[2]

Records of eugenics practices in California are held at the following agencies and institutions. The records are still protected for confidentiality reasons.

In California, [eugenics] was always linked to the use of land: to agriculture and plant hybridization.[3] Many of the powerful social workers, doctors, psychiatrists, and biologists, sought to hurt many of Californias Mexican, Indian, and Asian populations through the exclusionary laws that those scientists propose. In addition to the conquest to hurt the undesirables in the state, the California Eugenics plan also was a way to save the state money so they could eliminate the money the state spends on welfare and other programs that help the less fortunate.[3] Eugenics takes take three forms in California:

Dolores Madrigal entered the University of Southern Californias medical center on October 12, 1973, in order to give birth to her second child. During her time in labor, she was given a consent form and coerced by doctors into having a tubal ligation, effectively sterilizing her. Madrigal insisted that No one at the medical center informed me that a tubal ligation operation was going to performed on me. No one at the medical center informed me of what a tubal ligation operation consists nor of its permanent effects (Enoch, 5). Rebecca M. Kluchin found while researching the case that Physicians preferred to perform cesarean sections and tubal ligations in tandem to minimize risks associated with infection and anesthesia, as well as to reduce medical costs. It appears that at this hospital physicians who performed emergency cesarean sections sometimes used the opportunity to persuade a woman to accept permanent contraception.[10]

In July 1976 Madrigal sued the University of Southern California medical center, accompanied by Guadalupe Acosta, Estela Benavides, Consuelo Hermosillo, Georgina Hernandez, Maria Hurtado, Maria Figueroa, Rebecca Figueroa, Jovita Rivera, and Helena Orozco. Each of the nine other women who joined the class action lawsuit complained of similar proceedings. Together, these 10 chicanas decided to sue the USC medical center, contending that they had never given their informed consent to have the tubal ligation procedure performed. Karen Benker testified that poor minority women in L.A. County were having too many babies; that it was a strain on society; and that it was good that they be sterilized”.[11]

Despite Benkers testimony and other corroborating evidence, Judge Jesse Curtis ruled in favor of the defendants, stating that there had been nothing more than a breakdown in communication between the patients and the doctors (Stern 1135). He went on to say that it was appropriate for an obstetrician to believe that a tubal ligation could help diminish overpopulation as long as they did not attempt to overpower the will of his patients.[11]

In 1909 a eugenics law was passed in California allowing for state institutions to sterilize those deemed unfit or feeble-minded.[12] As one of the leading states in forced sterilization victims, Californias sterilization procedures primarily took place in state mental hospitals. Dr. Leo Stanley was one of the first people to bring the eugenics movement to Californias prisons.

Stanley was San Quentin penitentiarys chief surgeon and was particularly interested in eliminating those deemed unfit for society. His avid eugenic-based surgeries were the first of its kind to been seen in a prison. Taking place between 1930 and 1959, the peak of the eugenics movement, Stanley’s surgeries were driven by the idea of purifying criminals. Through testicular surgeries, he believed he could cultivate socially fit individuals by replacing a prisoners testicles with those of a deceased male previously deemed socially fit. His practices spawned early ideologies of white manhood,” which stemmed from his belief that he could “help a new, ideal man emerge”.[13]

Use of human and even animal testicles made Stanleys procedures highly unsuccessful and all around bizarre. His desire to restore social morality, along with his fascination with the endocrine system, fueled his research. Throughout the time of his procedures, criminals were believed to have something anatomically off that drove them to commit crimes. This belief inspired Stanley to explore the endocrine systems role in the criminology of a person. By persuading inmates that his testicular surgeries would produce favorable results in their sex lives he sterilized more than 600 prisoners by the end of his career.[13] Stanleys prison work concluded upon the start of World War II where he served overseas, only to retire as a eugenic pioneer.

The Human Betterment Foundation (HBF) was established in Pasadena, California in 1928. Led by E.S. Gosney it researched with an aim to foster and aid constructive and educational forces for the protection and betterment of the human family in body, mind, character, and citizenship. In 1929 E.S. Gosney set up the Human Betterment Foundation and gathered twenty-five of the leading scientists, philanthropists, and community leaders to carry out research on the effects of sterilization for thirteen years (Valone). Gosney also used the HBF to distribute the product of his research, Sterilization for Human Betterment which attracted attention from the nearby university, the California Institute of Technology (Caltech). Robert A. Millikan, a leading faculty member and proponent of Caltech, was looking for potential donors to the university and shared many of Gosneys views in his work decided to join the HBF board.

Lois Gosney Castle and the board of trustees eventually liquidated the foundation and turned the proceeds over to Caltech. Thirteen years after publishing the 1929 report entitled “Sterilization for Human Betterment, the HBF continued to carry out research on the effects of sterilization and undertook widespread distribution of the report to individuals, public libraries, and schools. After the liquidation files were found in 1968, but since they contained personal medical information, they were legally closed to researchers.[14]

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Eugenics in California – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Bill Gates and Eugenics: The World Needs Fewer People

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Bill Gates and Eugenics: The World Needs Fewer People

Kissinger, Eugenics And Depopulation – Rense

Dr. Henry Kissinger, who wrote: “Depopulation should be the highest priority of U.S. foreign policy towards the Third World.” Research on population control, preventing future births, is now being carried out secretly by biotech companies. Dr. Ignacio Chapela, a University of California microbiologist, discovered that wild corn in remote parts of Mexico is contaminated with lab altered DNA. That discovery made him a threat to the biotech industry. Chapela was denied tenure at UC Berkeley when he reported this to the scientific community, despite the embarrassing discovery that UC Chancellor Berdahl, who was denying him tenure, was getting large cash payments – $40,000 per year – from the LAM Research Corp. in Plano, Texas. Berdahl served as president of Texas A&M University before coming to Berkeley. During a presentation about his case, Chapela revealed that a spermicidal corn developed by a U.S. company is now being tested in Mexico. Males who unknowingly eat the corn produce non-viable sperm and are unable to reproduce. Depopulation, also known as eugenics, is quite another thing and was proposed under the Nazis during World War II. It is the deliberate killing off of large segments of living populations and was proposed for Third World countries under President Carter’s administration by the National Security Council’s Ad Hoc Group on Population Policy. National Security Memo 200, dated April 24, 1974, and titled “Implications of world wide population growth for U.S. security & overseas interests,” says: “Dr. Henry Kissinger proposed in his memorandum to the NSC that “depopulation should be the highest priority of U.S. foreign policy towards the Third World.” He quoted reasons of national security, and because `(t)he U.S. economy will require large and increasing amounts of minerals from abroad, especially from less-developed countries … Wherever a lessening of population can increase the prospects for such stability, population policy becomes relevant to resources, supplies and to the economic interests of U.S. Depopulation policy became the top priority under the NSC agenda, Club of Rome and U.S. policymakers like Gen. Alexander Haig, Cyrus Vance, Ed Muskie and Kissinger. According to an NSC spokesman at the time, the United States shared the view of former World Bank President Robert McNamara that the “population crisis” is a greater threat to U.S. national security interests than nuclear annihilation.In 1975, Henry Kissinger established a policy-planning group in the U.S. State Department’s Office of Population Affairs. The depopulation “GLOBAL 2000” document for President Jimmy Carter was prepared. It is no surprise that this policy was established under President Carter with help from Kissinger and Brzezinski – all with ties to David Rockefeller. The Bush family, the Harriman family – the Wall Street business partners of Bush in financing Hitler – and the Rockefeller family are the elite of the American eugenics movement. Even Prince Philip of Britain, a member of the Bilderberg Group, is in favor of depopulation: “If I were reincarnated I would wish to be returned to earth as a killer virus to lower human population levels” (Prince Philip Duke of Edinburgh, leader of the World Wildlife Fund, quoted in “Are You Ready for Our New Age Future?” Insiders Report, American Policy Center, December 1995). Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld has been proposing, funding and building Bio-Weapons Level 3 and Level 4 labs at many places around the U.S. even on university campuses and in densely populated urban locations. In a Bio-Weapons Level 4 facility, a single bacteria or virus is lethal. Bio-Weapons Level 4 is the highest level legally allowed in the continental U.S. For what purpose are these labs being developed, and who will make the decisions on where bio-weapons created in these facilities will be used and on whom? More than 20 world-class microbiologists have been murdered since 2002, mostly in the U.S. and the UK. Nearly all were working on development of ethnic-specific bio-weapons (see Smart Dust, Roboflies &). Citizens around the U.S. are frantically filing lawsuits to stop these labs on campuses and in communities where they live. Despite the opposition of residents living near UC Davis, where a Bio-Weapons Level 4 lab was planned, it had the support of the towns mayor. She suddenly reversed her position after a monkey escaped from a high security primate facility on the campus where the bio-weapons lab was proposed. Residents claimed that if UC Davis could not keep monkeys from escaping from their cages, they certainly could not guarantee that a single virus or bacteria would not escape from a test tube. The AWOL monkey killed the project (see Smart Dust, Roboflies&). Population is a political problem. The extreme secrecy surrounding the takeover of nuclear weapons, NASA and the space program and the development of numerous bio-weapons labs is a threat to civil society, especially in the hands of the military and corporations. The fascist application of all three of these programs can be used to achieve established U.S. government depopulation policy goals, which may eliminate 2 billion of the worlds existing population through war, famine, disease and any other methods necessary. Two excellent examples of existing U.S. depopulation policy are, first, the long-term impact on the civilian population from Agent Orange in Vietnam, where the Rockefellers built oil refineries and aluminum plants during the Vietnam War. The second is the permanent contamination of the Middle East and Central Asia with depleted uranium, which, unfortunately, will destroy the genetic future of the populations living in those regions and will also have a global effect already reflected in increases in infant mortality reported in the U.S., Europe, and the UK. References Birth defects: The Tiny Victims of Desert Storm,Life photo-essay (1995), http://www.life.com /Life/essay/gulfwar/gulf01.html. Statement by Prince Philip Duke of Edinburgh, http://homepage.mac.com /kaaawa/iblog/C337802379/E1557478132/. Smart dust, roboflies, microbugs: UC is spying on youby Leuren Moret, San Francisco Bay View, Feb. 26, 2003, http://www.mindfully.org /Nucs/2003/Berkeley-Library-Classified22feb03.htm. San Francisco Bay View National Black Newspaper 4917 Third Street San Francisco California 94124 Phone: (415) 671-0789 Fax: (415) 671-0316 editor@sfbayview.co http://www.sfbayview.com /110304/ucregents110304.shtml

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Kissinger, Eugenics And Depopulation – Rense

War Against The Weak – Home Page

THE BEST BOOK ON EUGENICS. Edwin Black has written what may well be the best book ever published about the American eugenics movement and the horrific events it spawned. Combining exhaustive research, a very readable style, and just the right touch of moral outrage, Black splendidly conveys the evil depth and breadth of eugenics philosophy, the pseudo-science and social theory that unleashed a half-century of war against society’s most vulnerable citizens.

Wesley Smith National Review

Gregory Mott Washington Post Book World

Gregg Sapp Library Journal

Daniel Kevles New York Times Book Review

Adrienne Miller Esquire Magazine

Starred Review Publishers Weekly

Ray Olson Booklist

Tony Platt Los Angeles Times Book Review

David Plotz Mother Jones Magazine

Paul Ranier Der Spiegel

Nancy Schapiro St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Carl Zimmer Discovery

Cynthia Dettelbach Cleveland Jewish News

Steve Courtney Hartford Courant

Mark Lewis Tampa Tribune

Jack Fischel The Forward

Amy DeBaets Ethics and Medicine


War Against The Weak – Home Page