virginia-eugenics-victims-compensation.si

Virginia’s Eugenics Victims Get $25k Restitution Payments

The Eugenics Program of the Western Oligarch is the reason for the explosion of AIDS and other cancers, and the flooding of worthless GMO foods in the market, and the deliberate carcinogenic spraying of our skies.

The World Health Organization itself is engaged, together with Baxter and Novartis, in the willful extermination of US citizens through H1N1, and has been financing bioweapons research which brought us HIV-AIDS.

The Center for Disease Control owns the patent for weaponized Ebola virus, and all of the aforementioned entities are engaged in media fear mongering campaign to force all of us to vaccinate.

Vaccines, until now are tainted with mercury, formaldehyde, human fetus and live “attenuated” viruses it is advertized to protect us from.

And for survivors of all these repeated crimes of genocide, the Corporate government thinks $25 thousand is enough as a form of restitution.

We are of the opinion that this type of socioeconomic arrangement has gone past its expiration date. It is time to get rid of the current system.

Virginia’s forced sterilization victims each to get $25k restitution payments for eugenics program

Virginia is set to become the second state to compensate the victims of its eugenics program ‒ people whom the state deemed mentally or physically unfit to procreate and were then forcibly sterilized without their knowledge or consent.

The commonwealth will give $25,000 each “to individuals who were involuntarily sterilized pursuant to the Virginia Eugenical Sterilization Act and who were living as of February 1, 2015,” according to Virginia’s revised 2014-2016 budget that was passed by the General Assembly at the end of February. A total of $400,000 was set aside for forced sterilization victims, the Virginia Gazette reported.

“$25,000. If I can get that, I’d be pretty happy,” one of Virignia’s confirmed victims, Lewis Reynolds, told RT. “But I would have liked to have got the same amount they got in North Carolina ‒ $50,000.”

Reynolds was an unknowing victim of Virginia’s eugenics program at age 13 after he was hit in the head with a rock and falsely diagnosed with epilepsy as a young boy ‒ he only discovered he had been sterilized after he and his wife were unable to have children.

“I would have loved to have had a family and children and grandchildren, too. And I wonder sometimes what would I be like, a father to my children if I could have any, and play with ‘em and everything,” Reynolds said. “We tried to start a family, but [my wife] told me that if she couldn’t have her own children, she didn’t want any.”

The first forced sterilization program began in Indiana in 1907, and other states quickly followed suit. The commonwealth of Virginia began its eugenics plan in 1924, which affected more than 7,000 people ‒ and possibly over 8,300 ‒ before it ended in 1979.

With an 8-1 vote in its 1924 Buck v. Bell ruling, the Supreme Court gave states ‒ specifically Virginia, where the case was filed ‒ the constitutional authority under their police powers to implement their eugenics programs.

“Three generations of imbeciles are enough,” Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes famously wrote the decision, supporting the argument that the state’s interest in lowering the number of people who “already sap the strength of the State” outweighed the rights of proposed sterilization victims to control their own bodies.

“It is better for all the world, if instead of waiting to execute degenerate offspring for crime, or to let them starve for their imbecility, society can prevent those who are manifestly unfit from continuing their kind,” Holmes also wrote in the decision.

Until the late 1970s, 33 states had forced sterilization programs, affecting at least 60,000 people.

“The language that the legislators and bureaucrats developed was very broad. Words were promiscuous, propensity to alcoholism, socially inadequate, defective, unfit. These were very broad terms with, really, just broad meaning, and it was left to social workers and people in the communities to turn in these people [to the states],” Christian Law Institute CEO Mark Bold told RT.

“Often the commonality was that they were poor, sometimes they engaged in minor criminal or trivial behavior ‒ skipped school and things like that ‒ and that caught the attention of social workers, police officers and others, and they would commit them to these institutions,” he continued. “Based upon that, they would first segregate them from the general population, and then ultimately sterilize them.”

The Christian Law Institute’s Justice for Sterilization Victims Project has led the fight for restitution for those who were forcefully sterilized. Virginia is the second state to compensate its victims. In 2013, North Carolina created a $10 million compensation package to be distributed among living victims, who are to receive $50,000 each.

North Carolina agrees to compensate sterilization victims for 45-year eugenics program

“I appreciate, I recognize what Bold [is] doing and recognize what they’re gon’ give me, and I thank them very much for what they’re doing,” Reynolds said.

Bold’s company is still looking for other living victims of Virginia’s program to come forward, including at least two people who were sterilized in 1979, as the window for reparations will close in 2019. California is the next state where the Christian Law Institute will focus on gaining compensation for forced sterilization victims. The advanced program on the West Coast served as the blueprint for Nazi Germany’s quest to create its “master race,” Bold said. The state sterilized 20,000 people from 1909 to 1963, more than twice as many people as Virginia did during that time.

“It’s one of the most horrific and shameful chapters in California’s history,” Los Angeles civil rights attorney Areva Martin told CNN.

In 2002, Virginia’s then-Gov. Mark Warner and North Carolina’s then-Gov. Mike Easley apologized to their states’ eugenics victims. Then-Gov. Gray Davis followed suit in California in 2003.

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US eugenics victim: ‘I didn’t know what they were doing to me’

Published time: December 11, 2012 13:27
Edited time: December 11, 2012 17:27

A decades-long US program of forced sterilization left tens of thousands of women unable to have children. As plans for compensation remain feeble, RT talks to one of the victims about the horrors of eugenics she was exposed to.

RT’s Marina Portnaya traveled to North Carolina, where the silent eugenics program was the most aggressive and prolonged.

Operating from 1933 to 1977, the Eugenics Board of North Carolina quietly sterilized an estimated 7,600 people, targeting minorities and poor young women due to their low income and education.

In North Carolina, an IQ of 70 or lower would mean sterilization was suitable. It was also the only state that gave the freedom to social workers to determine who would be sterilized.

Eugenics is a pseudo-science aimed at improving the so-called ‘quality’ of the population by forcibly preventing reproduction by people thought, by some, to be inferior.

America’s silent eugenics program, conceived in 1920s and practiced across 32 states, targeted mostly young minorities deemed too poor, mentally disabled or otherwise ‘unfit’ to raise children.

84-year-old Virginia Brooks became one of the eugenics victims when she was taken away at 14.

“I said why do I got to go to the hospital, I’m not sick”, Brooks told RT.

Virginia was with two other girls when a social worker picked her up. “She said we gotta take your appendix out. So they took me down there and they did surgery. I didn’t know what they were doing to me.”

“She [the social worker] came and my chart was on the foot on my bed. She said, you’ll never have no children. And that’s when I found out what they did to me”, Brooks added.

 

Apartment building that served as center for forced sterilization in North Carolina.
Apartment building that served as center for forced sterilization in North Carolina.

 

Portnaya visited the horrid place where state officials took Virginia Brooks and dozens of other young girls to undergo mandatory sterilization decades ago. Today it is an apartment building complex where families go about their everyday lives.

“I would have loved to have a baby. I would have liked to know what it would’ve been like to have a baby. I look at other people, why couldn’t I have been like that?” Virginia said.

Brooks went on to adopt a little girl and marry Howard, her husband of forty two years. Between them they have four grandchildren, five great grandchildren and the legacy of suffering that goes with mandatory sterilization which has never quite gone away.

“I still feel sorry for her for the way she was treated”, Virginia’s husband Howard said.

“Somebody should be held accountable. If the state had anything to do with it, the state should be sued for everything they got.”

One of the most infamous uses of Eugenics was the racial purity program in Nazi Germany. The practice was introduced in the US many years before being adopted by the Nazi regime, however, serving as a model for inspiration later down the line.

U.S. eugenics advocacy poster from the Philadelphia Sesqui-Centennial Exhibition, 1926. (Image from http://en.wikipedia.org)
U.S. eugenics advocacy poster from the Philadelphia Sesqui-Centennial Exhibition, 1926. (Image from http://en.wikipedia.org)

 Compensation debacle

To this day, none of the victims in the US have been compensated for their life-long suffering.

This year, North Carolina is on track to become the first state to compensate living victims, like Brooks, with a pay out of up to US $50,000. But the plan’s future remains uncertain.

In June, North Carolina’s state senate rejected proposals to allocate funding for the compensation program.

“North Carolina was the third most populous state in this nation to sterilize its victims”, North Carolina State Representative Larry Womble stated. “This state and this country can do better than this. We are ashamed of what has happened.”

Opponents cited budgetary restraints and concerns of setting an unfair precedent for other groups that claim to have been victimized as the main reasons for their vote. And some argue that paying victims for what was a legal program could lead to subsequent payouts tied to America’s other historic atrocities such as slavery.

The defeat weighs heaviest on the surviving victims, but they are not giving up.

“This program was always hiding in plain sight,” editor of Winston-Salem Journal John Railey told NPR. “And now I’m the editorial page editor of my paper, pushing for compensation of these folks that guys who sat in my chair back in the day pushed to have sterilized, for all intents and purposes.”

2,000 victims are still alive today, but only about 130 of them came forward to receive possible compensation.

A set of photographs depicting anthropometry – the measurement of humans.Exhibit photograph scanned from: Harry H. Laughlin, The Second International Exhibition of Eugenics held September 22 to October 22, 1921, in connection with the Second International Congress of Eugenics in the American Museum of Natural History, New York (Baltimore: William & Wilkins Co., 1923). (Image from http://en.wikipedia.org)
A set of photographs depicting anthropometry – the measurement of humans.Exhibit photograph scanned from: Harry H. Laughlin, The Second International Exhibition of Eugenics held September 22 to October 22, 1921, in connection with the Second International Congress of Eugenics in the American Museum of Natural History, New York (Baltimore: William & Wilkins Co., 1923). (Image from http://en.wikipedia.org)

 

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For those who still harbor the idea that eugenics is just another wild conspiracy theory, here’s what the US National Library of Medicine – National Institutes of Health is saying…

U.S. Scientists’ Role in the Eugenics Movement (1907–1939): A Contemporary Biologist’s Perspective

Steven A. Farber

eugenics_fitter_families
During the early decades of the twentieth century, eugenics was both mainstream and widespread—as this photo from a state fair in the early-to-mid-1920s demonstrates. American Philosophical Society

 

In this special issue devoted to the study of pigmentation, it is only fitting that we reflect on how this trait has been utilized to promote specific political and social agendas in both the United States and Europe. It was Francis Galton, a cousin of Darwin, who coined the term “eugenics” in 1883 while advocating that society should promote the marriage of what he felt were the fittest individuals by providing monetary incentives.1 Shortly thereafter, many intellectuals and political leaders (e.g., Alexander Graham Bell, Winston Churchill, John Maynard Keynes, and Woodrow Wilson) accepted the notion that modern societies, as a matter of policy, should promote the improvement of the human race through various forms of governmental intervention. While initially this desire was manifested as the promotion of selective breeding, it ultimately contributed to the intellectual underpinnings of state-sponsored discrimination, forced sterilization, and genocide.

From the perspective of an academic in 2008, it can be hard to fathom how pioneering studies of chromosomal segregation would be juxtaposed to studies of “Pedigrees of Pauper Stocks” in England, “Individual and Racial Inheritance of Musical Traits” or “Heritable Factors in Human Fitness and Their Social Control.” These examples come from the 1923 report of the Second International Congress of Eugenics, titled Eugenics, Genetics, and the Family.2 In the opening address, Henry F. Osborn, then president of the American Museum of Natural History in New York (the site of the meeting), stated,

In the US we are slowly waking to the consciousness that education and environment do not fundamentally alter racial values. We are engaged in a serious struggle to maintain our historic republican institutions through barring the entrance of those unfit to share in the duties and responsibilities of our well-founded government.…In the matter of racial virtues, my opinion is that from biological principles there is little promise in the melting-pot theory. Put three races together (Caucasian, Mongolian, and the Negroid) you are likely to unite the vices of all three as the virtues.…For the worlds work give me a pure-blooded…ascertain through observation and experiment what each race is best fitted to accomplish.…If the Negro fails in government, he may become a fine agriculturist or a fine mechanic.…The right of the state to safeguard the character and integrity of the race or races on which its future depends is, to my mind, as incontestable as the right of the state to safeguard the health and morals of its peoples.

It is important to appreciate that within the U.S. and European scientific communities these ideas were not fringe but widely held and taught in universities. The report of the Eugenics meeting was the lead story in the journal Science on October 7, 1921, and this opening address was published, in its entirety, beginning on the first page of the issue.3

To understand why eugenics became a serious scientific movement in the 1920s, it is useful to look back 20 years earlier. In 1902, Charles B. Davenport, then a Professor of Zoology at the University of Chicago, approached the Carnegie Institution with a request for $45,000 to create a “Biological Experiment Station for the study of evolution” on the Cold Spring Harbor Campus.4 His aim would be the “analytic and experimental study of the causes of specific differentiation—of race change.” He proposed to accomplish this “by the cross breeding of animals and plants to find the laws of commingling of qualities…the study of the laws and limits of inheritance.”4 Within this brief two-page proposal, Davenport commingles the scientific genetic approach that dated back to Mendel with his personal fascination with the perceived human racial differences of his day.

Within 5 years the Experimental Evolution Department had established over 100 animal stocks that included 20 mammals and dozens of insects (including crickets and Drosophila), and over 400 flowering plants.5 It took until 1910 for Davenport to begin studies on human inheritance with the creation of the Eugenics Record Office. Financial support came from Mrs. E.H. Harriman (a wealthy philanthropist), John Harvey Kellogg (the breakfast cereal magnate), and the American Breeders’ Association. This association was the first membership-based group whose mission included the promotion of eugenics research in the United States through a subcommittee chaired by ichthyologist and Stanford University President David Starr Jordan.6,7 By 1918, H.H. Laughlin was hired as the superintendent of the Eugenics Records Office, which transitioned from a freestanding, self-supporting endeavor to a sub-department of the Experimental Evolution Department under the control of the Carnegie Institution.8 Davenport conceived of this office to mainly “serve eugenical interests in the capacity of repository and clearing house” and to “provide data adequate to making eugenical studies.”8 Their method was to collect family histories from “better families” and “subnormal families” based upon methods previously described by Galton.

By the 1920s, three major efforts pushed the eugenic agenda in the United States and subsequently throughout Europe: (1) The Eugenics Research Association with Laughlin and Davenport as leaders and in affiliation with the American Association of the Advancement of Science (AAAS). (2) The American Eugenics Society founded by Laughlin, Harry Crampton, Madison Grant, and Henry Fairfield Osborn with the purpose of promoting the eugenical movement at both the scientific and popular level. (3) The Eugenics Records Office, directed by Davenport and run by Laughlin with the express purpose of providing the scientific data to support the eugenics movement.

A concerted effort of this magnitude with the expressed support of the mainstream scientific establishment (e.g., AAAS as operator of the journal Science; the American Breeders’ Association, which later became the American Genetics Association; and the Carnegie Institution) had an effect throughout both the scientific and governmental establishments worldwide. Specifically, by 1936 when both England and the U.S. genetic scientific communities finally condemned eugenical sterilization, over 60,000 forced sterilizations were already performed in the United States on mostly poor (and often African-American) people confined to mental hospitals.9,10 The practice of forced sterilizations for the “unfit” was almost unanimously supported by eugenicists. The American Eugenics Society had hoped, in time, to sterilize one-tenth of the U.S. population, or millions of Americans.11

Laughlin’s publication of Eugenical Sterilization in the United States in 1922 included the drafting of a “model law” for compulsory sterilization that was the bedrock of forced sterilization programs throughout the country. According to Davenport, Laughlin’s “book on sterilization is recognized as the standard.”12 In 1930, Laughlin comments about the U.S. Supreme Court upholding a Virginia sterilization statute as, “the establishment of the eugenical authority of the state…[enabling] the prevention of hereditary degeneration by a method sound from the legal, eugenical and humanitarian points of view.…It is now possible for any state, if it desires to do so, to enact a sterilization statute.”12 A typical study prepared by Laughlin and used to justify these laws is excerpted below:

The Problem of the Feeble-Minded in Connecticut…the 11,962 feeble-minded persons—the total number who came under the purview of the Survey—have been studied individually in reference to nine subject as follows: (1) sex, (2) age, (3) recidivism, (4) diagnostic class, (5) intelligence quotient, (6) race descent, (7) nativity, (8) citizenship, (9) kin in institutions.…At the present rate every inhabitant of Connecticut is expending…5 and 1/3 as many dollars on the socially inadequate and the individually handicapped as the average inhabitant was spending for the same purpose 20 years ago.13

Davenport’s eugenical research is very typical of countless studies purporting to link perceived human differences to the burgeoning field of Genetics. This work is best appreciated by quoting the author directly:

Successful naval officers are of various types.…The three commonist traits are: (1) love of sea; (2) capacity for fighting; (3) capacity for commanding or administering.…The performance of a man depends in large degree upon his inherent, inheritable traits.…The sea makes to different people varied appeal.…The love of the sea, sea-lust or thalasssophilia is apparently a specific trait to be differentiated from wanderlust or love of adventure.…One of the most striking characteristics of sea–lust is that it is wholly a male character…so the appeal of the sea develops under the secretion of the germ gland in the boy. It is theoretically possible that some mothers are heterozygous for love of the sea, so that when married to a thalassophilic man half of their children will show sea-lust and half will not.14

What is often not appreciated is that Nazi efforts were bolstered by the published works of the American eugenics movement as the intellectual underpinnings for its social policies. One of Hilter’s first acts after gaining control of the German government was the passage of the Law for the Prevention of Hereditarily Diseased Offspring (Gesetz zur Verhütung erbkranken Nachwuchses) in July 1933.15 The Nazis, when proposing their own sterilization program, specifically noted the “success of sterilization laws in California” documented most notably by the American eugenicist P.B. Popenoe.16 The Nazi program ultimately resulted in the sterilization of 360,000–375,000 persons.9 The intellectual linkage between the United States and Nazi eugenic programs is further illustrated by Davenport’s presence on the editorial boards of two influential German racial hygiene journals, Zeitschrift für Rassenkunde und ihrer Nachbargebiete and the Zeitschrift für menschliche Vererbungs- und Konstitutionslehre.17 Sadly, with the benefit of 70 years hindsight, we can see the alignment of the stated goals of the Eugenics Records Office with Nazi social engineering programs as revealed by Davenport:

To investigate the nature of those forces or agencies which improve or impair racial or family-stock qualities. These forces which act upon immigration, mate selection and fertility, differential by race and family-stock quality are those which have been given most attention. In the field of immigration, studies have been made in Europe and America on the selection of immigrants have played as recruits to the breeding stock of the American people. Many of these researches were conducted in collaboration with the Committee on Immigration and Naturalization of the House of Rep. and the Immigration Service of the U.S. Government.18

It wasn’t until 1935 that a review panel convened by the Carnegie Institution concluded that the Eugenics Research Office research did not have scientific merit, and subsequently withdrew funding in 1939.19 In examining this dark history of American science, it is equally important to appreciate that eugenics was but a small part the work of the Carnegie. The Department that Davenport created, which under his tenure later became the Genetics Department in 1920, was not focused on eugenics. In fact, often eugenics-related work represented less than 1 page in what was typically a 30-page summary of the department’s yearly activities. This was a department that went on to support the efforts of Thomas Hunt Morgan (genes are carried on chromosomes, for which he was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1933), Alfred Hershey and Martha Chase (DNA as genetic material), A.H. Sturtevant (first genetic chromosomal map, 1 map unit=1% frequency of recombination), and Barbara McClintock (transposons, for which she received the 1983 Nobel Prize).

In this special Pigmentation Issue, and on the eve of the election of our first President of European/African ancestry, it is useful to revisit the history of the eugenics movement to recognize the contributions of the scientists who have eliminated it from today’s scientific life and analyze and learn from our mistakes.

In 1925, T.H. Morgan clearly identifies an important criticism of the eugenics movement. He directly attacks Davenport’s and Laughlin’s approach (without mentioning their names) by pointing out that despite all their exhaustive family pedigrees, they failed to really understand the nature of the trait they thought they were studying.

In the case of man’s physical defects, there are a few extremely abnormal conditions where the evidence indicates that something is inherited, but even here there is much that is obscure. The case most often quoted is feeble-mindedness that has been said to be inherited as a Mendelian recessive, but until some more satisfactory definition can be given as to where feeble-mindedness begins and ends, and until it has been determined how many and what internal physical defects may produce a general condition of this sort, and until it has been determined to what extent feeble-mindedness is due to syphilis, it is extravagant to pretend to claim there is a single Mendelian factor for this condition…until all the social conditions surrounding the childhood of the individual are examined and given proper weight, serious doubts will arise as to what form of inheritances is producing the results.20

Some have argued that the lesson of this period was that:

Genetics was corrupted in the 1920s by the confusion of folk knowledge with scientific inference. For whatever reasons, outsiders who recognized it were shunned, and insiders were, as they say, a day late and a dollar short. The fairly obvious lesson to be learned is that where science appears to validate folk beliefs, it needs to be subjected to considerably higher standards of scrutiny than ordinary science.21

We may want to ask ourselves: What (if anything) that we research today will seem as unfathomable as the sex-linked trait, love of the sea?

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Disclosure Statement

No competing financial interests exist.

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References

  1. Galton F. London: Macmillan and Co.; 1883. Inquiries into Human Faculty and Its Development.
  2. Davenport CB. Baltimore: Williams & Wilkins; 1923. Eugenics, Genetics, and the Family.
  3. Osborn HF. The Second International Congress of Eugenics Address of Welcome. Science. 1921;54:311–313. [PubMed]
  4. Carnegie Institution of Washington. Washington: Carnegie Institution of Washington; 1902. Year Book No. 1.
  5. Carnegie Institution of Washington. Washington: Carnegie Institution of Washington; 1907. Year Book No. 6.
  6. American Breeders’ Association. Encyclopædia Britannica. Chicago: Britannica; 2008.
  7. Kimmelman BA. The American Breeders’ Association: genetics and eugenics in an agricultural context, 1903–13. Soc Stud Sci. 1983;13:163–204. [PubMed]
  8. Carnegie Institution of Washington. Washington: Carnegie Institution of Washington; 1918. Year Book No. 17.
  9. Sofair AN. Kaldjian LC. Eugenic sterilization and a qualified Nazi analogy: the United States and Germany, 1930–1945. Ann Intern Med. 2000;132:312–319. [PubMed]
  10. Robitscher J. Living and dying: a delicate balance. Engage Soc Action. 1973;1:38–53. [PubMed]
  11. Black E. War Against the Weak: Eugenics and America’s Campaign to Create a Master Race. New York: Four Walls Eight Windows; 2003.
  12. Carnegie Institution of Washington. Washington: Carnegie Institution of Washington; 1930. Year Book No. 29.
  13. Carnegie Institution of Washington. Washington: Carnegie Institution of Washington; 1938. Year Book No. 37.
  14. Davenport CB. Scudder MT. Naval Officers, Their Heredity and Development. Washington: Carnegie Institution of Washington; 1919.
  15. Approved translation of the “Gesetz zur Verhütung erbkranken Nachwuchses.”. Berlin: Reichsausschuss für Volksgesundheitsdienst; 1935. The Law for the Prevention of Hereditarily Diseased Offspring. [PubMed]
  16. Popenoe P. The German sterilization law. J Hered. 1934;25:257–260.
  17. Kèuhl S. The Nazi Connection: Eugenics, American Racism, and German National Socialism. New York: Oxford University Press; 1994.
  18. Carnegie Institution of Washington. Washington: Carnegie Institution of Washington; 1934. Year Book No. 33.
  19. Carnegie Institution of Washington. Washington: Carnegie Institution of Washington; 1939. Year Book No. 38.
  20. Morgan TH. Evolution and Genetics. Princeton: Princeton University Press; 1925.
  21. Marks J. Racism, Eugenics, and the Burdens of History. IX International Congress of Human Genetics. 20 August 1996, Rio de Janeiro, 1996.

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