Cover

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pp. c-v

Contents

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pp. vi-vii

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Acknowledgments

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pp. viii-xiii

Many individuals and institutions contributed to this book. The following account is necessarily partial. Those unmentioned share my thanks with those named.
I am grateful to the archivists who helped me uncover the facts about Virginia eugenics, especially the University of Virginia’s interlibrary loan department,...

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INTRODUCTION: "You Are Your Brother's Keeper!"

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pp. 1-20

In the early twentieth century, America witnessed the emergence of a new faith. The rise of empirical science had a profound impact on cultural practices and social structure. Scientists’ increasing understanding of and control over the natural world became the focus of intense public interest....

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1 "The Sacrifice of a Race": Virginia's Proto-eugenicists Survey Humanity

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pp. 21-47

In February 1900, Dr. Paul Brandon Barringer—chairman of the faculty at the University of Virginia and professor of medicine—took the stage before the Tri-State Medical Association of Virginia and the Carolinas. His task was to explain what he, and many other whites of the era, considered to be...

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2 "Rearing the Human Thoroughbred": Progressive Era Eugenics in Virginia

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pp. 48-69

From its Jeffersonian founding, the University of Virginia commanded immense respect in the South. For a time in the nineteenth century, Virginia’s master’s degree, which required a student to pass every course offered at the university, was considered one of the most difficult degrees in American higher education. At the turn of the twentieth century, Virginia was...

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3 "Defending the Thin Red Line": Academics and Eugenics

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pp. 70-106

"The dawn of peace and the new year find the principles of eugenics more strongly than ever entrenched upon the field of science and ready to play their role in national reconstruction,” Harry Hamilton Laughlin announced in the January 1919 issue of the Eugenical News. “In constructive or aristogenic eugenics,” Laughlin crowed, “one after another our colleges...

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4 "Sterilize the Misfits Promptly": Virginia Controls the Feebleminded

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pp. 107-136

The “Roaring Twenties” prompted massive social dislocations in American life. The economy soared as industries transformed from wartime production to creating consumer goods for the masses. Mass production and mass consumption engendered “mass amusements” that prompted cultural...

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5 "Mongrel Virginians": Eugenics and the "Race Question"

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pp. 137-166

The self-styled ethnologist Earnest Sevier Cox announced Virginia’s eugenic fears regarding the race question. Introducing his book White America, Cox wrote: “the Negro problem is a part of the greater problem of heredity. When eugenics seeks to eliminate the unfit and establish the...

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6 "A Healthier and Happier America": Persistent Eugenics in Virginia

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pp. 167-194

Writing a term paper for Ivey Lewis’s eugenics course, a University of Virginia undergraduate remarked: “In Germany Hitler has decreed that about 400,000 persons be sterilized. This is a great step in eliminating the mental deficients.” The student acknowledged that, “the wide scope of the...

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7 "They Saw Black All Over": Eugenics, Massive Resistance, and Punitive Sterilization

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pp. 195-220

On May 17, 1954, the U.S. Supreme Court forever changed the rules governing southern society. Chief Justice Earl Warren, writing for a unanimous Court, declared that compulsory segregation of black schoolchildren “generates a feeling of inferiority” that “affects their hearts and minds in a...

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CONCLUSION: "I Never Knew What They'd Done with Me"

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pp. 221-230

Virginia’s involvement with eugenics continues into the present. By the late 1960s, the rise of the counterculture and the sexual revolution moved human sexuality temporarily beyond the purview of social engineers and into the realm of individual conscience. In Virginia, after the last...

Notes

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pp. 231-268

Bibliography

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pp. 269-288

Index

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pp. 289-300