Eugenics. A tiny little word with an amazingly complex meaning, eugenics was once held as the science of "better breeding," and the mechanism for birthing a better, more fit society. Utilizing theories of evolution, polygenesis, phrenology, and genetic inheritance, eugenic beliefs filtered into every aspect of Western culture. Today, remnants of eugenics inform and dictate policies in education, housing, health, punishment, finance, amusements, immigration, and race. The Acumen Group deconstructs these theories to raise awareness of eugenics -- past and present and help others address both personal and institutional bias based on eugenic ideologies.
BLACK HISTORY MONTH #BlackLiteracyMatters
In June 1919, Carter Godwin Woodson penned the text The Education of the Negro Prior to 1861. In it, Woodson laid bare the facts of Black progress and marked the bounty of literacy as its cornerstone. The Acumen Group celebrates Woodson's brainchild - Black History Month 2024 - with a call to action to increase literacy among Black people Diasporically. We will offer daily notes in our 29 Days/29 Ways Literacy campaign during February. our goal is to encourage you to read more, support writers (and readers), and develop a true love of reading. Our first #29Days29Ways post are words from Woodson as documented in that 1919 book.
Let us grow Onward, Upward, Always! -- Dr. S
"The instances of Negroes struggling to obtain
an education read like the beautiful romances of a
people in an heroic age. Sometimes Negroes of the type of Lott Carey educated themselves. James Redpath discovered in Savannah that in spite of the law great numbers of slaves had learned to read well. Many of them had acquired a rudimentary knowledge of arithmetic. "But," said he, "blazon it to the shame of the South, the knowledge thus acquired has been snatched from the spare records of leisure in spite of their owners' wishes and watchfulness. " C. G. Parsons was informed that although poor masters did not venture to teach their slaves, occasionally one with a thirst for knowledge secretly learned the rudiments of education without any instruction.
While on a tour through parts of Georgia, E. P. Burke observed that, notwithstanding the great precaution which was taken to prevent the mental improvement of the slaves, many of them "stole knowledge enough to enable them to read and write with ease. "3 Robert Smalls of South Carolina and Alfred T. Jones of Kentucky began
their education in this manner."
The Acumen Group honored the writers, directors, producers, and actors of the British soap opera Coronation Street in October 2023 for their research-worthy performances. Using the strength of their talents, our examination of potentially eugenic themes on the show yielded both a bounty of data and a book award for Popular Eugenics in Television & Film. Here are the presentations of our awards at ITV Studios in Manchester (UK), to Alison King (for her portrayal of Carla Barlow), Chris Gascoyne (for his portrayal of Peter Barlow), and William Roache, (for his portrayal of Ken Barlow). An additional Acumen award was accepted by actor Simon Gregson, who portrays Steve McDonald, (on behalf of the writers, directors, and producers). King and Gascoyne provided Acumen with valuable insight into their characters -- who wrestled with the residue of childhood traumas and adult addictions while forging a formidable (sometimes volatile) romantic relationship with each other. Affectionately known as #Carter, Carla and Peter Barlow afforded researchers amazing test subjects of eugenically unfit (but purely lovable) characters who beat the odds and cultivated an almost surreal, passionate, and productive union.
Photos and video footage -- even our bloopers -- by Alison Sinclair for ITV Coronation Street on behalf of The Acumen Group. / All rights reserved. Copyright 2023
A Celebration of Acumen Endeavors 2023
In Search of Purity:
Popular Eugenics & Racial Uplift Among New Negroes 1915-1935
Winner of the 2019-2020 Best Academic History Book Award from the International Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society
Available for purchase in our online bookstore or at book retailers worldwide
"If you do not understand eugenics in the framing of race policies, what you believe you know of racism, Otherness, and national character, will only confuse you."
-- Dr. Shantella Sherman
Winner of 2019-2020 Best Academic Book - International Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society