Aggregated News

Black and white image of a large house on a plain plot of land that says at the bottom in small letters "Virginia state colony for epileptics and feeble-minded"

The day was June 4, 1924. A dark-haired girl, just 17 years old, was admitted to the Virginia State Colony for Epileptics and Feebleminded. She became colony inmate 1692. The superintendent of the colony examined her. He declared her healthy, free of syphilis, able to read, write, and keep herself tidy. And then he classified her as "feeble-minded of the lowest grade, moron class."

With that designation, this young woman, who'd already lost more than many people could bear in a lifetime, was set on a path she didn't choose. And what happened to her laid the foundation for one of the most tragic social experiments in American history.

This is the story of Carrie Buck, and three generations of her very small family: Emma, Carrie and Vivian. A grandmother, a mother and a child who, by virtue of their poverty and some very bad luck, became the test case for forced sterilizations in the United States.

"Three generations of imbeciles are enough," wrote Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., in his official opinion for the U.S. Supreme Court case, known... see more