A nationwide gene-purity movement promoted methods that eventually were adopted by the Third Reich. And everyone from John D. Rockefeller to W. E. B. Du Bois supported it.
Carrie Buck was in her third year at the State Colony for Epileptics and Feeble-Minded in Lynchburg, Virginia, when the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed the state’s right to sterilize her. Seventeen at the time she had been institutionalized, the child of a feeble-minded mother and the mother to an illegitimate daughter of her own, Buck had refused to submit to sterilization, and the case had finally made its way to the nation’s highest court.
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