||By the beginning of the 20th century eugenics was fully integrated
with American culture. It was being taught in public schools; there were
movies promoting it and it was even found in church sermons. (Dolan)
High school biology books contained a chapter on eugenics. The chapters
cover the topics of the eugenics policies of limited immigration, sterilization
and race segregation. (Dolan) Children were taught that the practices
of eugenics were morally right and were the only way to preserve the purity
of America's gene pool. Immigration was seen as making the problem worse
by further diluting the already muddied gene pool.
Movies and pop-culture reflected the views of society concerning eugenics.
Even the churches were in on it. Some sermons were actually given awards
by the American Eugenics Society. Eugenics became a part of everyday life,
for those deemed non-defective. Those who were affected were generally
to poor and uneducated to do anything about it.
Support for the movement came from all sectors of society. The cereal
tycoon, J.H. Kellogg, founded the Race Betterment Foundation (RBF) in
Battle Creek, Michigan in 1906. (BBC) The RBF had its own sanitarium and
held a series of conferences on eugenics policies in 1914, 1915 and 1928.
Fitter Family contests were held at state fairs to determine the "purity"
of a family's lineage. These displays were usually setup directly next
to the livestock pavilion. The cattle were judged for their breeding inside
and right next door the Jones' and the Smiths were battling it out for
the first place Fitter Medal. The contests were introduced by the American
Eugenics Society (AES) to give people the chance to show off there heritage.
There were 1st, 2nd and 3rd place prizes for the contest and it quickly
caught on and became a mark of distinction to win a medal.