History in the Making

Document Type



Women of color have long suffered targeted and systematic racial discrimination and attempts to control their populations by the state. Well after eugenic rhetoric and policies’ prime in the 1930s and 1940s, and the Civil Rights movements of the mid-century, Chicana, Black, and Indigenous women continued to be victimized by state-sanctioned eugenic policy. This paper examines the way that eugenic rhetoric and policy evolved from the first sterilization laws in the nation passed in California that targeted criminality to later legislation and rhetoric that explicitly targeted racial minorities.