In this fascinating examination of the intriguing but understudied period following the landmark Brown v. Board of Education decision, John Jackson examines the scientific case aimed at dismantling the legislation.
Offering a trenchant assessment of the so-called scientific evidence, Jackson focuses on the 1959 formation of the International Society for the Advancement of Ethnology and Eugenics (IAAEE), whose expressed function was to objectively investigate racial differences and publicize their findings. Notable figures included Carleton Putnam, Wesley Critz George, and Carleton Coon. In an attempt to link race, eugenics and intelligence, they launched legal challenges to the Brown ruling, each chronicled here, that went to trial but ultimately failed.
The history Jackson presents speaks volumes about the legacy of racism, as we can see similar arguments alive and well today in such books as The Bell Curve and in other debates on race, science, and intelligence. With meticulous research and a nuanced understanding of the complexities of race and law, Jackson tells a disturbing tale about race in America.
A fascinating and comprehensive look at a largely neglected aspect of American historythe role of science and scientists in supporting and sustaining white racist thought and institutions during the battle over de-segregation. And like most good social history, it does not require much strain to draw the relevance to today's debates about the salience of biological taxonomies of race.