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Science for Segregation

Race, Law, and the Case against Brown v. Board of Education

Jr., John P. Jackson

Publication Year: 2005

In this fascinating examination of the intriguing but understudied period following the landmark Brown v. Board of Education decision, John Jackson examines the scientific case aimed at dismantling the legislation.

Offering a trenchant assessment of the so-called scientific evidence, Jackson focuses on the 1959 formation of the International Society for the Advancement of Ethnology and Eugenics (IAAEE), whose expressed function was to objectively investigate racial differences and publicize their findings. Notable figures included Carleton Putnam, Wesley Critz George, and Carleton Coon. In an attempt to link race, eugenics and intelligence, they launched legal challenges to the Brown ruling, each chronicled here, that went to trial but ultimately failed.

The history Jackson presents speaks volumes about the legacy of racism, as we can see similar arguments alive and well today in such books as The Bell Curve and in other debates on race, science, and intelligence. With meticulous research and a nuanced understanding of the complexities of race and law, Jackson tells a disturbing tale about race in America.

Published by: NYU Press


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p. ix

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pp. xi-xii

The list is long. Librarians at Florida State University and the University of Colorado–Boulder have been tremendous resources for me, as have the innumerable archivists at the University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill, Duke University, the Hoover Institution for War and Peace at Stanford University, the Stanford University Archives, the Manuscript...

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1. A Scientific Conspiracy

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pp. 1-18

Founded in 1970, the Behavioral Genetics Association (BGA) is dedicated to the “scientific study of the interrelationship of genetic mechanisms and behavior, both human and animal.”1 Like many professional organizations, the BGA has the president of the association address the banquet at the annual meeting. In 1995 the president of the BGA was...

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2. Racial Science and the Anti-Nordic Conspiracy

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pp. 19-42

Few scholars have addressed how scientific arguments, as developed by the racial anthropologists of the early twentieth century, were enrolled to support racial segregation in the American South. There is good reason for this: by the early twentieth century, Jim Crow and the disenfranchisement of African Americans were firmly in place; indeed,...

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3. Radical Right Underground

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pp. 43-68

Cox was the link between the racialist thought of the 1920s and the racialist thought of the 1950s. In 1951, Earnest Sevier Cox published Teutonic Unity. Like White America, the book was self-published. Unlike White America, Cox did not offer Teutonic Unity for sale but distributed it at his own expense to government officials as well as historians “in the nations of the Teutonic broodland and in the several nations...

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4. The South and the Scientific Backlash to Brown

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pp. 69-92

The fulminations against modern scientific arguments for racial equality were not confined to the extremist fringes of the neo-Nazi movements in New York City. Just as southern congressmen objected to Benedict and Weltfish’s Races of Mankind, white Southerners objected to any science that purported to prove white and black racial equality....

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5. Organizing Massive Resistance and Organizing Science

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pp. 93-117

In September 1957, Arkansas governor Orval Faubus ordered the National Guard to prevent the integration of Central High School in Little Rock. The escalating racial crisis in Little Rock, with white students taunting the “Little Rock Nine”—the nine African American students attempting to attend Central High—and Faubus’s refusal to comply with...

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6. The Attack on Brown

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pp. 118-147

For the decade following Brown, the white South tried every mechanism, legal and illegal, to resist desegregation. The IAAEE provided a formal organization of scientists that could crystallize the white South’s scientific arguments for segregation. Eventually, the scientists of the IAAEE would appear in the courtroom arguing that since Brown was decided...

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7. The Scientists React

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pp. 147-178

While the IAAEE scientists were deep into the fight to preserve racial segregation in the American South, they were also involved in a battle on a different front. They had launched their own journal, Mankind Quarterly, which purported to be dedicated to an open discussion of the scientific study of racial issues. The similarity between the doctrines...

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8. Back to the Underground?

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pp. 179-204

The views of the segregationist scientists fell into increasing disrepute after 1964. George, slightly older than the others and with fading eyesight, would contribute little to the cause after 1964. Garrett would continue writing and publishing (with Draper’s money), warning the public on the dangers of desegregation until his death in 1972. For...


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pp. 205-251


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pp. 253-279


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pp. 281-290

About the Author

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p. 291

E-ISBN-13: 9780814743263
E-ISBN-10: 0814743269
Print-ISBN-13: 9780814742716
Print-ISBN-10: 0814742718

Page Count: 304
Publication Year: 2005

OCLC Number: 76838947
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Science for Segregation

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Subject Headings

  • Topeka (Kan.). Board of Education -- Trials, litigation, etc.
  • Eugenics -- United States -- History -- 20th century.
  • Segregation in education -- Law and legislation -- United States.
  • Science -- Political aspects -- United States -- History -- 20th century.
  • Racism -- United States -- History -- 20th century
  • African Americans -- Legal status, laws, etc. -- History -- 20th century.
  • African Americans -- Segregation -- History -- 20th century.
  • Brown, Oliver, -- 1918-1961 -- Trials, litigation, etc.
  • United States -- Race relations -- History -- 20th century
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