336: Carrie Buck Eagle Detamore
Victim and Plaintiff in the US Supreme Court Case Buck V Bell
Born: 15 March 1906, Charlottesville, Virginia, United States of America
Died: 28 January 1983, Waynesboro, Virginia, United States of America
The case legalized and allowed thousands of US citizens to be sterilized for being “feeble-minded”.
Carrie’s story is eponymous with the Eugenics movement in the United States.
When Carrie was a teenager, she was raped by a relative of her foster family and became pregnant with her daughter Vivian.
Because she had an “illegitimate” child and her mother was also deemed sexually promiscuous, Carrie, her daughter, and her mother were all institutionalized and Carrie, her mother, and her sister were all sterilized against their will. The doctors and nurses who performed the operations never told the women what was happening to them or what the surgery really entailed.
After she was sterilized, Carrie was paroled and worked odd jobs throughout her life. She married twice and was known to love reading. Her daughter Vivian died at the age of eight after falling ill, though her school teachers remembered her intelligence and she made the honor roll in at least one year.
Years later, when a journalist caught wind of the story, he tracked down Carrie’s sister Doris and told her the truth, much to the dismay of her and her husband.
Carrie’s story is featured prominently in Dinesh D’Souza’s Hillary’s America, as well as in the book Imbeciles: The Supreme Court, American Eugenics, and the Sterilization of Carrie Buck by Adam Cohen. I cannot recommend the book enough, and I even made an episode about it and the eugenics movement on my (sadly now inactive) YouTube channel which I will link to the left.
Find a Grave Marked
Located In My Personal Library:
Here is Where: Discovering America’s Great Forgotten History by Andrew Carroll
Imbeciles by Adam Cohen