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American Eugenics

Photograph courtesy of Arthur Estabrook Papers, Special Collections & Archives, University at Albany, SUNY.
Carrie Buck and her mother Emma Buck, 1924

Journalist Adam Cohen has said if you want to learn about an institution, you look at where it’s gone wrong. For Cohen, Buck v Bell is a moment when the US Supreme Court went terribly wrong. Its 1927 decision upheld eugenics laws, and led to the forced sterilization of Carrie Buck and some 70,000 “undesirables” declared “feebleminded.” Tuesday, Cohen joins us to explain how Americans - and some of our most revered legal minds - succumbed to racism and classism in the name of “uplifting” the human race.

Adam Cohen is a former member of the New York Times editorial board and was a senior writer for Time Magazine. His book is called Imbeciles: The Supreme Court, American Eugenics, and the Sterilization of Carrie Buck. [Indiebound|Amazon|Audible]