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AfriGeneas Health and Wellness Forum

Medical History Health and Wellness

The Propaganda Committee of the Eugenics Education Society was started during 1932 in England. This conversation concerns the extent to which aspects of eugenic propaganda and medicine have influenced the Health and Wellness of Africa and the Diaspora.

This thread is restricted in content
to particular criteria influenced by the modern scientific eugenics movement promoted and founded by Sir Francis Galton (1822-1911). The First International Eugenics Congress, July 24-30, 1912, was held at University College London, England in memory of Sir Francis Galton.

The history of eugenics (ancient and modern) was researched at the Wellcome Library for the History and Understanding of Medicine Euston Rd. London, England. The core of the research was the impact of eugenic: medicine, economics; law reforms; immigration; philosophy, education; military training and methodology on Africa and the Diaspora. This was done within the framework of comparative research and study of eugenics between the United States and Germany. Special reference was given to the Garvey Movement in the Pacific Northwest of the United States (Seattle, Washington).

This state was chosen because Congressman Albert Johnson
(1869--1957) was congressional representative from 1913-1933. Congressman Johnson was responsible for implementing immigration reforms leading to the passage of restrictive immigration (1924). Albert Johnson was very prominent in the Eugenics Research Association (1913). The membership included Dr. Harry Laughlin and Dr. Charles Davenport prominent leaders in the international eugenics movement. Davenport established the Eugenics Record Office at Cold Spring Harbour, New York (1910). The founding of the Eugenics Record Office was encouraged by the work and philosopy of Francis Galton. Congressman Albert Johnson's numerous and eminent eugenic associations may explain, in part, why the State of Washington (1921) was one of the first states in the United States to legalize eugenic sterilization. The influence of the eugenic writings of Charles Davenport in Germany regarding racial mixing and population control indicates that he influenced the 'Jewish Question' in Germany, as well as the United States, and implementation of the German sterilization law (1933).

At Archives and Manuscripts Wellcome I researched files relating to the Eugenics Education Society (1907) founded by Sir Francis Galton. The purpose of eugenics generally was to improve 'hereditary traits' or the 'germplasm' of the Aryan or white race. The archives indicated that at all times this was done without deference to Africa, the Diaspora or 'darker peoples'.

Eugenics is a very vast subject. This is because most countries had a eugenic society or association: Sweden, Cuba, Italy, Puerto Rico, Mexico, France, South Africa, Russia, Australia, throughout Europe and the United States. Therefore I shall select only a few references that may be applied to Health and Wellness.

It was shown in the work of the Human Betterment Foundation (1928), a California organization, that African-Americans throughout the United States were sterilized disproportionately particularly in mental institutions. During 1927 the Eugenic Education Society organized a Film Committee. Eugenic Films were shown to Black Africans regarding birth control in South Africa. Films became an important aspect of: education and propaganda for the eugenic movement. Fairs, meetings and events were organized to determine the 'ideal baby' and the most 'fit family' from a eugenic perspective. This was done to preserve the germplasm of the white race and prevent racial mixing as it was considered destructive to the modern racial concept of civilization. There were eugenic surveys in all parts of the United States to establish genetic traits that were of merit to eugenic ideals.

The work of Sir Francis Galton and Karl Pearson was also researched at University College London. Karl Pearson studied in Germany. Archives about his work provided more clarity about the early history of eugenic relations between England and Germany. It was instructive that Pearson studied the Eddas. These were poems and prose about Nordic and Germanic History. Pearson's examination of these tales reminds one of the Hansel and Gretel story by the Grimms brothers.

Thank you for the opportunity to comment.
Dr. I.M. Spence-Lewis


18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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