Sex, Race, and Science: Eugenics in the Deep South

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JHU Press, Sep 30, 1996 - History - 264 pages
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In the first book to explore the theory and practice of eugenics in the American South, Edward Larson shows how the quest for "strong bloodlines" expressed itself in specific state laws and public policies from the Progressive Era through World War II. Presenting new evidence of race-based and gender-based eugenic practices in the past, Larson also explores issues that remain controversial today - including state control over sexuality and reproduction, the rights of disabled persons and of ethnic minorities, and the moral and legal questions raised by new discoveries in genetics and medicine. Larson shows how the seemingly broad-based eugenics movement was in fact a series of distinct campaigns for legislation at the state level - campaigns that could often be traced to the efforts of a small group of determined individuals. Explaining how these efforts shaped state policies, he places them within a broader cultural context by describing the workings of Southern state legislatures, the role played by such organizations as women's clubs, and the distinctly Southern cultural forces that helped or hindered the implementation of eugenic reforms.
  

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Contents

Eugenic Seeds
18
Sowing the Seeds
40
First Growth
63
Taking Root
85
Full Bloom
119
Bitter Harvest
146
Sifting and Winnowing
165
Note on Sources
242
Copyright

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About the author (1996)

Edward J. Larson is associate professor of history at the University of Georgia. He served as associate counsel with the U.S. House of Representatives and is the author of Trial and Error: The American Controversy over Creation and Evolution.