Courtesy Repost: Presented by Kirsti Melville
The hidden history of eugenics: fitter families and the feebleminded
The ugly spectre of eugenics left a dark stain on the 20th Century, with the genocidal quest of the Nazis to produce a ‘master race’. But the eugenic agenda reached much further and deeper still—into everyday laws and lives across the Western world—with profound consequences. In this 4 part series, RN’s Natasha Mitchellreveals a little-told story of misplaced power, misguided science and social engineering.
Are we on the cusp of a “new” eugenics, driven by modern genetics and the mantra of individual choice? From wrenching personal accounts of enforced sterilization to the fledgling foundations of education in Australia; have we learned from the mistakes of our past or are we at risk of repeating them?
In episodes 1 and 2 we hear the story of Carrie Buck. In 1927, 21 year old Carrie Buck was deemed ‘feeble-minded’ and ordered to be sterilised under the State of Virginia’s fledgling eugenics program. Her case made it the U.S Supreme Court, where Buck vs Bell became a defining test case for the eugenics movement worldwide, capturing the attention of Germany’s Nazis, and triggering the state-sanctioned sterilisation of reportedly over 70,000 people across America. And yet, few of us have heard of her shocking story or what it came to represent.
You’ll also meet Rosemary Brooks. Born a generation after Carrie Buck, and incarcerated in the same institution in Virginia, Rose’s plight and profound story closely mirrors Carrie’s and thousands of others across America.