Life in Possum Holler

Saline County, Arkansas, United States
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21 July 2009

Goinstown, North Carolina (Melungeons)

The Melungeon Historical Society: Goinstown, North Carolina

Monday, July 20, 2009

Goinstown, North Carolina
Rockingham & Stokes Counties
Notes on Goinstown by Professor G.C. Waldrep III

"Goinstown's history appears to begin in the 1770's with families (chiefly Gibsons and Goinses) moving in from what is usually called the "Flat River settlement" in what is now northern Durham Co. (then Orange Co.).

This was a small fragment of that former settlement, most of whose members ultimately wound up in east Tennessee and became the "Melungeons".

"The Goinstown community went from being legally "white" (more or less, up through about 1810) to "free colored" or "mulatto" (through most of the 19th century) to "Black" (circa 1880-1910s) to "Indian" (1910s to 1954) to "white" (finally, with the merging of the "Indian" Goinstown school into the white Stoneville system in 1954).

[Follow link for the rest of this article.]

11 July 2009

Eugenics-Two New Books Reviewed

H-Net Reviews

Victoria F. Nourse. In Reckless Hands: Skinner v. Oklahoma and the Near-Triumph of American Eugenics. New York: W. W. Norton, 2008. 240 pp. $24.95 (cloth), ISBN 978-0-393-06529-9.

Paul A. Lombardo. Three Generations, No Imbeciles: Eugenics, the Supreme Court, and Buck v. Bell. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2008. Photographs. xiv + 365 pp. $29.95 (cloth), ISBN 978-0-8018-9010-9.

Reviewed by Lynne CurryPublished on H-Law (June, 2009)Commissioned by Christopher R. Waldrep

Intellectual Seduction: The Promise and Perils of Eugenics
In the first half of the twentieth century, a right to control one’s own body did not exist in the same sense that we take rather for granted today. The state enjoyed broad powers to infringe on individual rights in the name of protecting the public’s health and safety. While this application of the state’s “police powers” has a very long history in law, at the turn of the twentieth century changing medical understandings of the etiology of contagious diseases inspired new confidence that law could be employed in the service of preventing deadly epidemics, such as smallpox and diphtheria. In 1905, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Jacobson v. Massachusetts that states can require individuals to be vaccinated, thereby establishing a crucial precedent for public health law and policy. It was within this context that eugenics, a pseudo-scientific movement advocating social control over human reproduction, took root and thrived. “Eugenics” is an umbrella term that covers a wide range of ideas, policies, and programs, within which varying weights were assigned to the relative influences of nature and nurture. Some eugenicists, analogizing from the germ theory of disease, argued that the United States faced an extreme risk of degeneracy due to the unchecked breeding of the physically, mentally, and morally unfit whose defective “germ plasm” threatened to undermine the health and welfare of future generations. Such fears were translated into state laws, founded on the Jacobson precedent, that mandated the sexual sterilization of the reproductively unworthy, with or without their consent--and often without their knowledge. In 1907, Indiana became the first state to mandate sterilization; by 1940, thirty states had enacted laws aimed at preventing criminals and the mentally “defective” from procreating. Legal challenges resulted in two landmark Supreme Court cases, Buck v. Bell (1927) and Skinner v. Oklahoma (1942). Both opinions remain well known and, for differing reasons, controversial today. Given the contemporary resurgence of scientific and popular interest in genetic explanations for a range of physical ailments and human behavior, both rulings are highly relevant as well. It is therefore most fortunate that two excellent and engaging books have arrived bringing renewed attention to these cases. {See rest of review essay at link.}

02 July 2009

Native Americans in the Census, 1860-1890

Native Americans in the Census, 1860-1890

If you're interested in which Indians were enumerated on the census, as well as when and where, this article will be of interest to you. It's from the Summer 2006, Vol. 38, No 2 issue of Prologue, published by the National Archives. It was written by James P. Collins. a volunteer staff aide at NARA.