The Strange Career of Eugenics in Texas, 1854-2018


Mellon/ACLS Community College Faculty Fellowships




The Texas eugenics movement started almost 30 years before the term “eugenics” was coined and 53 years before Indiana passed the first forced sterilization bill in the United States. In spite of the presence of renowned eugenics advocates and a movement that deeply penetrated its political life, Texas was one of only 16 states that never passed eugenics measures. Due to this lack of legislative success, the history of eugenics in Texas and its impact worldwide has been almost entirely ignored by scholars. This study of Texas eugenics—and its failure—deepens understandings of how the movement influenced immigration debates and intersected with politicized religious fundamentalism in the late-nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century United States.