392 Cohen Hall
Black Eugenics and the Struggle for Racial Equality
My talk traces the evolution of what I call black eugenics, which I define as a hereditarian approach to racial uplift that emphasized social reform, public health, and reproductive control as strategies of biological racial improvement. It emerges from a longer tradition of black political organizing for racial equality and the beginnings of black engagement with medicine and science as a result of greater educational opportunities after Reconstruction. Black eugenics as a concept shows the ways that African Americans, in different disciplines and of varying social strata, mobilized eugenics and racial science to challenge scientific racism and make arguments for racial equality. My talk will capture the complex and textured ways that African American physicians, scientists, social scientists, and activists engage, reinterpret, and critique eugenic thought to challenge racial assumptions of Black inferiority as part of a multi-faceted approach to struggles for racial justice.