7 Heinous Facts About Federally Funded Sterilization Programs in Alabama that Destroyed Black Girls like Relf Sisters


Alabama’s Eugenics History

Before any other southern state, Alabama was at the forefront of the eugenics experimentation on Black people. Dr. William Glassell Sommerville, Trustee of the Alabama Insane Hospitals, declared in the 1900s it was proved that “the moral disposition for good and evil, including criminal tendencies…are transmitted from…one generation to another…and is as firmly believed by all scientific men as the fact that parents transmit” physical qualities to their children.



How Alabama’s Sterilizations Stack Up Against Other States

From 1919 to 1980, there were 224 people sterilized. More than 58 percent of the victims were male. All of the sterilized were deemed “mentally deficient or disabled.” Compared to other states, Alabama ranked 27th in the country in terms of the heinous procedure. In fact, there were 32 states in the country that had sterilization laws, and Alabama had the 5th lowest number of sterilizations.

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