chapter  2
45 Pages

The Making of the "Matriarchy": The Persistence of Biological Explanations for Black Single Pregnancy

In the 1958 legislative session, Mississippi State Representative David H. Glass proposed House Bill 479, "An Act to Discourage Immorality of Unmarried Females by Providing for Sterilization of the Unwed Mother Under Conditions of the Act; and for Related Purposes." At the time, David Glass explained his thinking about the usefulness of sterilization. He wrote, "During the calendar year 1957, there were born out of wedlock in Mississippi, more than seven thousand Negro children... . The Negro woman because of child welfare assistance [is] making it a business, in some cases, of giving birth to illegitimate children.. . . The purpose ofmy bill was to try to stop, or slow down, such traffic at its source."!