The Galton Society for the Study of the Origin and Evolution of Man (1918–1935)

Posted in Articles, Health/Medicine/Genetics, History, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2022-02-02 04:18Z by Steven

The Galton Society for the Study of the Origin and Evolution of Man (1918–1935)

The Embryo Project Encyclopedia

Aliya R. Hoff, Ph.D. Candidate in Anthropology
Arizona State University

Charles Benedict Davenport, Madison Grant, and Henry Fairfield Osborn founded the Galton Society for the Study of the Origin and Evolution of Man, or the Galton Society, in New York City, New York, in 1918. The Galton Society was a scientific society that promoted the study of humans in terms of race in service to the US eugenics movement. The Galton Society was named in honor of Francis Galton who first coined the term eugenics in 1883. Galton and other eugenics proponents claimed that the human species could improve through selective breeding that restricted who could have children. Some of the society members were scientists from a wide range of disciplines who supported the now disproven notion that fundamental biological differences exist between races that may justify the control of human reproduction. The Galton Society drew on the scientific credibility and influence of its members to advocate for eugenics programs, such as immigration restriction laws, in the US

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The Color of Race in America, 1900-1940

Posted in Books, History, Media Archive, Monographs, United States on 2020-06-26 02:43Z by Steven

The Color of Race in America, 1900-1940

Harvard University Press
256 pages
6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches
5 halftones, 2 maps, 2 line illustrations
Paperback ISBN: 9780674010123

Matthew Pratt Guterl, Professor of Africana Studies & American Studies
Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island

With the social change brought on by the Great Migration of African Americans into the urban northeast after the Great War came the surge of a biracial sensibility that made America different from other Western nations. How white and black people thought about race and how both groups understood and attempted to define and control the demographic transformation are the subjects of this new book by a rising star in American history.

An elegant account of the roiling environment that witnessed the shift from the multiplicity of white races to the arrival of biracialism, this book focuses on four representative spokesmen for the transforming age: Daniel Cohalan, the Irish-American nationalist, Tammany Hall man, and ruthless politician; Madison Grant, the patrician eugenicist and noisy white supremacist; W. E. B. Du Bois, the African-American social scientist and advocate of social justice; and Jean Toomer, the American pluralist and novelist of the interior life. Race, politics, and classification were their intense and troubling preoccupations in a world they did not create, would not accept, and tried to change.

Table of Contents

  • Illustrations
  • Introduction
  • 1. Salvaging a Shipwrecked World
  • 2. Bleeding the Irish White
  • 3. Against the White Leviathan
  • 4. The Hypnotic Division of America
  • Epilogue
  • Notes
  • Acknowledgments
  • Index
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When W. E. B. Du Bois Made a Laughingstock of a White Supremacist

Posted in Articles, History, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2019-09-02 19:58Z by Steven

When W. E. B. Du Bois Made a Laughingstock of a White Supremacist

The New Yorker

Ian Frazier, Staff Writer

In the Du Bois-Stoddard debate, one man was practically laughed off the stage.
Illustration by Christian Northeast

Why the Jim Crow-era debate between the African-American leader and a ridiculous, Nazi-loving racist isn’t as famous as Lincoln-Douglas.

W. E. B. Du Bois, the twentieth century’s leading black intellectual, once lived at 3059 Villa Avenue, in the Bronx. He moved to a small rented house there with his wife, Nina Gomer Du Bois, and their daughter, Yolande, in about 1912. When I’m walking in that borough I sometimes stop by the site. It’s just off Jerome Avenue, not far from the Bedford Park subway station. The anchor business at that intersection seems to be the Osvaldo #5 Barber Shop, which flies pennants advertising services for sending money to Africa and to Bangladesh. All kinds of people pass by. You hear Spanish and Chinese and maybe Hausa spoken on the street. The first time I went to Du Bois’s old address, I wondered if I might find a plaque, but the house is gone, and 3059 Villa is now part of a fenced-in parking lot. Maple and locust trees shade the front stoops, and residents wait at eight-twenty on Tuesday mornings to move their cars for the street-sweeping truck. A fire hydrant drips, slowly enlarging a hole in the sidewalk. Even unmemorialized, 3059 Villa is a not-unpleasant spot from which to contemplate the great man’s life.

About a forty-minute walk away is the Bronx Zoo. In 1912, it was called the New York Zoological Park, and it was run by a patrician named Madison Grant from an old New York family. Though he and Du Bois lived and worked within a few miles of each other for decades, I don’t know if the two ever met. As much as anyone on the planet, Grant was Du Bois’s natural enemy. Grant favored a certain type of white man over all other kinds of humans, on a graded scale of disapproval, and he reserved his vilest ill wishes and contempt for blacks.

As Du Bois would have remembered, in 1906 the zoo put an African man named Ota Benga on display in the primate cages. Ota Benga belonged to a tribe of Pygmies whom the Belgians had slaughtered in the Congo. A traveller had brought him to New York and to the zoo, where huge crowds came to stare and jeer. A group of black Baptist ministers went to the mayor and demanded that the travesty be stopped. The mayor’s office referred them to Grant, who put them off. He later said that it was important for the zoo not to give even the appearance of having yielded to the ministers’ demand. Eventually, Ota Benga was moved to the Howard Colored Orphan Asylum, in Brooklyn, and he ended up in Virginia, where he shot himself…

…In March, 1929, the Chicago Forum Council, a cultural organization that included white and black members, announced the presentation of “One of the Greatest Debates Ever Held.” According to the Forum’s advertisement, the debate was to take place on Sunday, March 17th, at 3 p.m., in a large hall on South Wabash Avenue. The topic was “Shall the Negro Be Encouraged to Seek Cultural Equality?”

In smaller letters, the ad asked, “Has the Negro the Same Intellectual Possibilities As Other Races?” and below that the answer “Yes!” appeared with a photograph of Du Bois, who would be arguing the affirmative. Alongside the answer “No!” was a photograph of Lothrop Stoddard, a writer, who would argue the negative. In the picture, Stoddard projects a roguish, matinée-idol aura, with slicked-down hair and a black mustache. The ad identified him as a “versatile popularizer of certain theories on race problems” who had been “spreading alarm among white Nordics.”

The Forum Council did not oversell its claim. The Du Bois-Stoddard debate turned out to be a singular event, as important in its way as Lincoln-Douglas or Kennedy-Nixon. The reason more people don’t know about it may be its asymmetry. The other historic matchups featured rivals who disagreed politically but wouldn’t have disputed their opponent’s right to exist. Stoddard had written that “mulattoes” like Du Bois, who could not accept their inferior status, were the chief cause of racial unrest in the United States, and he looked forward to their dying out…

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Whether we like to admit it or not, the result of the mixture of two races, in the long run, gives us a race reverting to the more ancient, generalized and lower type.

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2016-11-26 22:17Z by Steven

Whether we like to admit it or not, the result of the mixture of two races, in the long run, gives us a race reverting to the more ancient, generalized and lower type. The cross between a white man and an Indian is an Indian; the cross between a white man and a negro is a negro; the cross between a white man and a Hindu is a Hindu; and the cross between any of the three European races and a Jew is a Jew.

Madison Grant, The Passing of the Great Race or The Racial Basis of European History, (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1916): 15-16.


Authors Probe Roots of U.S. Far Right

Posted in Articles, Biography, Book/Video Reviews, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2012-05-01 19:58Z by Steven

Authors Probe Roots of U.S. Far Right

Southern Poverty Law Center
Intelligence Report
Winter 2009, Issue Number: 136

Heidi Beirich

Defending the Master Race: Conservation, Eugenics, and the Legacy of Madison Grant
By Jonathan Peter Spiro
Burlington, Vt.: University of Vermont Press, 2009
$39.95 (hardback)

The Color of Fascism: Lawrence Dennis, Racial Passing, and the Rise of Right-Wing Extremism in the United States
By Gerald Horne
New York: New York University Press, 2009
$22.00 (hardback)

A bumper crop of works on influential early 20th century American racists, fascists and eugenicists has been hitting the bookshelves in 2009. Two of the most interesting are on Madison Grant (1865-1937), perhaps the most important conservationist of his time and so pernicious a racist and anti-Semite that he helped inspire Hitler’s policies, and Lawrence Dennis (1893-1977), the biggest defender of fascism in the 1930s, who was, surprisingly, a black man passing for white.

Jonathan Peter Spiro’s biography of Grant, a very rich member of the American WASP elite, is eye opening. It is astonishing to realize how many major American figures of the early 1900s were so rabidly racist and anti-Semitic — and perfectly willing to use the power of the state to sterilize those they saw as lesser beings. Spiro’s book is fundamental to understanding how profoundly our nation has been shaped by racist and anti-Semitic ideas…

…Grant’s most important work, The Passing of the Great Race, was first published in 1916 by the elite Charles Scribner’s Sons. Its basic thesis, still popular among American white supremacists today, is that miscegenation and immigration were destroying America’s superior “Nordic” race. In their time, Grant’s beliefs were popular, even meriting a mention in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby (the celebrated author and Grant shared the same Scribner editor).

Presaging Hitler’s infamous words, Grant called Nordics “the Master Race.” To protect that race, Grant was quite clear that restrictions curtailing Jewish and Southern European immigration were necessary. Eugenics, too, were required. He wrote that the effort should begin by sterilizing the “criminals,” the “insane” and the “diseased,” followed by the “weaklings” and, ultimately, all “worthless race types.”…

…American Fascist

Gerald Horne’s The Color of Fascism is a much slimmer volume on the unlikely career as an American fascist of Lawrence Dennis, a far-right thinker who passed as white and whose ideas are still prized today by radical right activists, including veteran anti-Semite Willis Carto.

Dennis was an interesting character. He was born in Atlanta of a black mother and white father in 1893 and was a child prodigy. Before the age of 10, Dennis wrote a book on his Christian beliefs and preached his religion to massive crowds in the U.S. and Europe—never hiding his black mother, who shepherded him around the world. But as he grew older, the light-skinned Dennis made a decision to leave his far darker-skinned mother behind and to begin to pass for white. By the 1920s, he had achieved the unthinkable for a black man of the time, graduating from Exeter and then Harvard and going on to make careers for himself in the State Department and on Wall Street, where he was one of the few who predicted the 1929 stock market crash. That prediction led to a profitable run of speaking engagements for Dennis in the 1930s and vaulted him into the upper-class social circles of the far right, where he became particularly close to Charles and Anne Lindbergh.

By the 1930s, Dennis had evolved into the public face of American fascism, making connections with American extremists and traveling to Europe to meet with Mussolini, whom he later said he was “less impressed with” than Hitler. In 1941, Dennis was named “America’s No. 1 Intellectual Fascist” by Life.

So what made Dennis an adherent of an ideology that most certainly would have oppressed him and other African Americans? Horne theorizes that Dennis may well have been attracted to fascism simply because it stood starkly opposed to American “democracy,” which then so openly oppressed blacks living under Jim Crow. He wrote often and eloquently of the impending ascendancy of the fascist model, and regularly ascribed America’s decay to its racist policies — a point that oddly seemed missed by his many racist allies…

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Toward a Racial Abyss: Eugenics, Wickliffe Draper, and the Origins of the Pioneer Fund

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Work, United States on 2011-05-14 04:45Z by Steven

Toward a Racial Abyss: Eugenics, Wickliffe Draper, and the Origins of the Pioneer Fund

Journal of History of the Behavioral Sciences
Volume 38, Issue 3, (Summer 2002)
pages 259–283
DOI: 10:1002/jhbs.10063

Michael G. Kenny, Professor of Sociology and Anthropology
Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, British Columbia

The Pioneer Fund was created in 1937 “to conduct or aid in conducting study and research into problems of heredity and eugenics.. and problems of race betterment with special reference to the people of the United States.” The Fund was endowed by Colonel Wickliffe Preston Draper, a New England textile heir, and perpetuates his legacy through an active program of grants, some of the more controversial in aid of research on racial group differences. Those presently associated with the Fund maintain that it has made a substantial contribution to the behavioral and social sciences, but insider accounts of Pioneer’s history oversimplify its past and smooth over its more tendentious elements. This article examines the social context and intellectual background to Pioneer’s origins, with a focus on Col. Draper himself, his concerns about racial degeneration, and his relation to the eugenics movement. In conclusion, it evaluates the official history of the fund.

This article traces the historical roots of The Pioneer Fund, a still extant American charitable endowment founded in 1937 by textile heir Col. Wickliffe Preston Draper (1890–1972). The Fund, through its granting program, claims to have had a significant positive influence on the development of the behavioral sciences; but it has also attracted public attention because of its support for research on racial group differences. Pioneer’s beginnings reach back into the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, when eugenics emerged as a powerful and cosmopolitan social reform impulse; an exploration of the Fund’s origins sheds light both on that time and on the permutations of the eugenics movement that led to its present notoriety.

However, knowledge of Pioneer’s beginnings and social context remains fragmentary and dispersed, and here I use the papers of the American Eugenics Society (in the keeping of the American Philosophical Society, Philadelphia), and the Harry Laughlin papers (Library of Truman State University, Kirksville, Missouri) to gain entrée into the circumstances surrounding the prehistory and early days of the Fund, particularly the attitudes and role of its founder, Wickliffe Draper.

Those circumstances have been smoothed over by figures central to the Fund’s current operation and, in conclusion, I will evaluate this revisionist history in light of the archival and supplemental material to be reviewed below…

Davenport and Grant, among others, held that certain racial combinations—say Negro/White—are inherently “disharmonious” because the evolutionary histories of their aboriginal populations had gone down widely divergent paths. As Davenport put it, “miscegenation commonly spells disharmony—disharmony of physical, mental and temperamental qualities and this means also disharmony with environment. A hybridized people are a badly put together people and a dissatisfied, restless, ineffective people” (1917, p. 366). Madison Grant feared that, if the American “Melting Pot is allowed to boil without control,” it will sweep the “nation toward a racial abyss” because miscegenation always leads to a evolutionary reversion toward the lower type in the mix. “The cross between a white man and a negro is a negro… the cross between any of the three European races and a Jew is a Jew” (1916, p. 228; for more on racial “disharmony” see Barkan, 1992, p. 165; Baur, Fischer, & Lenz, 1931, p. 692; Glass, 1986, p. 132; Provine, 1973; Stepan, 1985; Tucker, 1994, pp. 64–67).

The investigation of race mixing from a Mendelian point of vieww as pioneered by German anthropologist Eugen Fischer, who—armed with Davenport’s early studies of human heredity—undertook an innovative field study of “die Rehobother Bastards,” a Boer/Hottentot mixed-race population in the then German colony of South-West Africa (Fischer, 1913; see Massin, 1996). Fischer’s general aim was to decouple the effects of heredity and environment through detailed biometric and genealogical studies of a discrete and nowrelatively endogamous population of mixed race origins (Massin, 1996, pp. 122–123). The “Bastards” had the advantage of being an isolated group with well known family ties, unlike the situation in the United States, in which persons of mixed-race ancestry had been “subsumed in a lower, completely undefinable mixed-race proletariat” (1913, p. 21). As late as 1939, Fischer’s monograph was still regarded as the “classic study of race mixture” (Hooton, 1939, p. 156)…

…By definition a “white” person could have no known trace of nonwhite blood (including Asian), whereas a nonwhite person was anyone who did—except when it came to those who were one-sixteenth native Indian or less, and were therefore defined as equivalent to whites in legal terms. This logic was based on a perception of just who most of the contemporary “Indians” of Virginia actually were. Plecker believed that, because of long standing miscegenation between the two communities, most of those who identified themselves as “Indian” were in effect negroes attempting to pass as white (Plecker, 1924).

Though not arising out of any particular love for Indians, the one-sixteenth rule had an interesting motivation: so as to not exclude from the white race the many proud descendants of Pocahontas and John Rolfe. Disputes about racial identity, legitimacy, and validity of marriage generated by such legislation have provided considerable subsequent diversion for legal historians (Avins 1966; Pascoe 1996; Saks 1988; Wallenstein 1998).

Plecker had already corresponded with Charles Davenport about the quality of white/Indian/black mixed-race populations, and was included among those whom Wickliffe Draper should meet. Plecker and Cox accordingly traveled north in June to visit with Draper in New York; they also stopped by to see Madison Grant, and were feted by the Laughlins at Cold Spring Harbor. Cox gave a talk at the Museum of Natural History on the topic of repatriation, and there was further discussion of a possible Virginia-based endowment to advance the cause of eugenics (Plecker to Laughlin, 8 June 1936; see Smith, 1993, pp. 80–81).

What Draper envisioned was nothing less than the establishment of an Institute of National Eugenics (or perhaps “Institute of Applied Eugenics”) at the University of Virginia, aimed at “conservation of the best racial stocks in the country” and “preventing increase of certain of the lower stocks and unassimilable races.” Laughlin observed that the University “has a tradition of American aristocracy which the nation treasures very highly.” It therefore seemed a promising venue, as did the South in general—“because of its historical background and traditional racial attitude”—ready to assume leadership in defense of the American racial stock (Laughlin to Draper, draft letter; 18 March 1936). In his survey of the American racial makeup, Madison Grant found that “with Virginia one reaches the region where the old native American holds his ground” (Grant, 1934, p. 226)…

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