This article traces the early years of the Jamaica Birth Control League (JBCL), its foundations and founding members, its goals, and the challenges of its daily operations from 1938 to 1942. It analyzes how changing international understandings of population growth buttressed and gave authority to the claims of middle and upper class birth control advocates who viewed the growing population of the island's Afro-Jamaican poor as a major obstacle to Jamaica's development into a modern and potentially independent nation. While birth control reformers drew on the scientific authority of demography and the international networks of British and American birth control organizations for legitimacy, they faced difficulties in their implementation of an island-wide program for contraception that reveal class and racial hierarchies reflective of the larger colonial context in Jamaica.


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pp. 157-177
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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