This article examines the intersections of youth, race, and science in early twentieth-century California. It explores how scientific researchers, reform school administrators, and social reformers at Whittier State School advocated the use of intelligence tests to determine the causes of delinquency. Through the process of testing, they identified a disproportionate number of delinquent boys of color-Mexicans, Mexican Americans, and African Americans-as mentally deficient or "feebleminded." As the evidence reveals, intelligence, race, heredity, and criminality became inextricably linked as the basis for segregating and removing youth of color from the reformatory. The records indicate that, despite officials' recommendations to send feebleminded boys to state hospitals that routinely sterilized their wards, as allowed by a 1909 state law, they sent the majority of youth to the Preston School of Industry, a reform school for older boys. In this instance, expediency in creating a premier institution at Whittier State School took precedence over larger eugenicists designs.
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Research Article| May 01 2007
Intelligence Testing at Whittier School, 1890-1920
Pacific Historical Review (2007) 76 (2): 193–228.
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MIROSLAVA CHÁÁVEZ-GARCÍÍA; Intelligence Testing at Whittier School, 1890-1920. Pacific Historical Review 1 May 2007; 76 (2): 193–228. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/phr.2007.76.2.193
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