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Race UnmaskedBiology and Race in the Twentieth Century$
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Michael Yudell

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780231168748

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231168748.001.0001

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Charles Davenport and the Biology of Blackness

Charles Davenport and the Biology of Blackness

Chapter:
(p.31) 2 Charles Davenport and the Biology of Blackness
Source:
Race Unmasked
Author(s):

Michael Yudell

J. Craig Venter

Publisher:
Columbia University Press
DOI:10.7312/columbia/9780231168748.003.0003

This chapter focuses on the eugenics of Charles Davenport who, through his speeches, writings, and advocacy on behalf of eugenic ideology, established himself as the expert of the American eugenics movement. Davenport is most notably known for attempting to quantify the heritability of social and mental traits within group variations, and for relating questions of heredity with the challenges of immigration. Upon the adoption of the Johnson-Reed Act, the decrease of European immigrants in the 1920s forced black–white racial issues to the forefront, and therefore caused Davenport to devote his studies to the black–white racial binary. He examined the nature of black–white differences, particularly in the context of children between blacks and whites, as well as between those he refered to as mulattoes.

Keywords:   Charles Davenport, American eugenics movement, heredity, immigration, Johnson-Reed Act, black–white racial binary, mulattoes

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