In 1924, Virginia passed a law "to preserve racial integrity" as part of a wave of eugenic legislation. Debate surrounding the passage of the Racial Integrity Act, a law forbidding a white person to marry anyone of another race, reveals how eugenicists manipulated ideas about race, class, and gender to create a social crisis that apparently could only be solved through their policies. Women's growing independence and new social behaviors, they feared, would lead to increasing sexual relations between white women and black men. Proponents of the act articulated a new female vulnerability, encouraged women's return to their traditional roles, and supported efforts to control women who did not conform to moral expectations. Justified by eugenicists' desire to protect and improve white genetic stock, and ostensibly enacted to prevent racial mixture, the law ultimately served to prescribe the attitudes and behavior of Virginia's white women.


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pp. 143-166
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