The Eugenic Assault on America: Scenes in Red, White, and Black

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George Mason University Press, 1993 - Eugenics - 114 pages
"We have seen more than once that the public welfare may call upon the best citizens for their lives. It would be strange, indeed, if it could not call upon those who already sap the strength of the State, for these lesser sacrifices, in order to prevent our being swamped by 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 their propagation by medical means in the first place. Three generations of imbeciles are enough". This opinion upheld the involuntary sterilization law in the State of Virginia, and was written and delivered by Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes. In reality, the Virginia statute was one among many. Since 1907, twenty-nine states passed laws mandating sterilization, racial registration, and restricting miscegenation. Some were still on the books as recently as a decade ago. In this extraordinary book, J. David Smith chronicles the events leading to the enactment of this body of laws, as well as their execution over the years. It is a chilling account of myriad personal tragedies. The issue of eugenics as potential genocide is even today not dead. Proposals for compulsory sterilization through the use of Norplant is evidence of that. This is an important book, and should be on top of the reading list for every person concerned with civil liberties and the Bill of Rights.

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AngloSaxon Clubs of America
Peculiar Alliance
Issue of Racial Equality

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About the author (1993)

J. David Smith is Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor at the University of Virginia's College at Wise. He earned both baccalaureate and graduate degrees from Virginia Commonwealth University. He was awarded a second master's degree and his doctorate from Columbia University. His professional experience includes a work as a public school teacher and as a counselor. He and his wife, Joyce, served two years in Jamaica working as Peace Corps volunteers. Before coming to The University of Virginia's College at Wise as Provost, he served as Dean of the School of Education and Human Services at Longwood University. He also served as Chair of the Department of Educational Psychology at the University of South Carolina. He began his higher education career at Lynchburg College. Smith has made numerous invited presentations to national and international audiences and regularly contributes to the professional literature on education, human services, and public policy through journal articles. He is the author of ten books. One of the integrating themes of his research and writing has been a concern for the rights and dignity of people with disabilities. Smith has devoted much of his scholarship to the study of the history of eugenics and its impact on social and educational policy, and he has also been active in addressing contemporary problems and issues in education.

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