The following document tell the story of one young woman’s experiences with forced sterilization. While reading about and watching her story, keep the following question in mind:
How could something like this happen in America?
The Lynchburg Story: A story about American sterilization in the 20th century.
- Briefly describe Mary’s experience.
- Did Mary know why she “needed” the operation? Why?
- What did the doctor’s tell her about the operation? Why do you think they said that?
- Who did the Lynchburg colony target? Why do you believe that they targeted these people?
- What does “better race” mean to Eugenists?
- Do you believe that the State should have the power to decide if someone is unfit to reproduce? Why?
***Stop the video at 16:05***
Perfect Baby Competition
ID# 2244: Infant being examined for a Better Babies Contest: Date: Circa 1910
- Based on your knowledge of the Lynchburg Colony video, what do you think a Perfect Baby Competition was?
- Why do you think the US had Baby Competitions?
- Do you think these competitions tried to support or condemn eugenics? Why?
- Which year did California sterilize the most people?
- Legally, was the government allowed to do this?
- Based on the story of Carry Buck and the cases in California, do you think the US sterilized people nationwide?
- What other government/leader does this remind you of in history?