Paper Title

Rendering (Im)Purity: Racial Integrity and Compulsory Sterilization in 1924 Virginia

Location

Room 220, DiGiorgio Campus Center (DiGs)

Start Date

1-4-2016 9:00 AM

End Date

1-4-2016 10:15 AM

Keywords

eugenics, anglo-saxons club, race, "miscegenation, " law, purity, "feebleminded, " white supremacy, compulsory, genetics

Abstract

In 1924, the Virginia General Assembly passed both The Racial Integrity Act and The Sterilization Act. At the height of the Eugenics Movement within the United States, these two policies manifested Virginia’s intent to maintain, protect, and secure the purity of the white race. The passing of The Racial Integrity Act codified the one-drop rule in Virginia. Those who possessed one drop of African blood were black, while those without any “contamination” were white. Virginia institutionalized a racial binary, composed of black and white and forbade whites to marry individuals deemed to be of a different race. The Sterilization Act, on the other hand, allowed for the compulsory sterilization of those considered “feebleminded.” In most cases this included poor white women and women of color. Virginia hoped to eradicate the further procreation of the “less-fit,” in an attempt to conceive the strongest white American race. I analyze these acts through the lens of both the larger Eugenics Movement and the passing of racial and “anti miscegenation” laws throughout the United States. I seek to understand the way in which both the larger and more local Virginia eugenics movements were connected to the creation of race in the United States.

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Apr 1st, 9:00 AM Apr 1st, 10:15 AM

Rendering (Im)Purity: Racial Integrity and Compulsory Sterilization in 1924 Virginia

Room 220, DiGiorgio Campus Center (DiGs)

In 1924, the Virginia General Assembly passed both The Racial Integrity Act and The Sterilization Act. At the height of the Eugenics Movement within the United States, these two policies manifested Virginia’s intent to maintain, protect, and secure the purity of the white race. The passing of The Racial Integrity Act codified the one-drop rule in Virginia. Those who possessed one drop of African blood were black, while those without any “contamination” were white. Virginia institutionalized a racial binary, composed of black and white and forbade whites to marry individuals deemed to be of a different race. The Sterilization Act, on the other hand, allowed for the compulsory sterilization of those considered “feebleminded.” In most cases this included poor white women and women of color. Virginia hoped to eradicate the further procreation of the “less-fit,” in an attempt to conceive the strongest white American race. I analyze these acts through the lens of both the larger Eugenics Movement and the passing of racial and “anti miscegenation” laws throughout the United States. I seek to understand the way in which both the larger and more local Virginia eugenics movements were connected to the creation of race in the United States.