Eugenics: Miller vs. Smith

Eileen Faderan                                                                                                              December 19, 2019
Professor Fraad                                                                                                                        English LC58

Eugenics: Miller vs. Smith

        In the state of Virginia, Eugenics laws were passed, allowing social workers and doctors to sterilize whoever they believed were feebleminded and/or mentally deficient. On August 4, 1927, 18-year old Elizabeth Miller was the first person to be sterilized in the state of Virginia under this new law. But Elizabeth was not feebleminded at all. Although her mother was diagnosed as feebleminded and “sexually promiscuous” by the doctor’s distaste, Elizabeth showed no sign of those inherited traits from her mother. Elizabeth was able to attend public schools and proceeded to portray the typical behavior of a normal kid, despite being placed in foster care at the age of 4. Elizabeth was no problem to the foster family that she’s been with for 14 years; the Smith Family. She always stayed on top of her work and was overall obedient towards the Smiths. Her foster parents; Margaret and Frank Smith watched Elizabeth grow into an independent, respectful girl despite the status of her mother.

        However, one night in the summer of 1923, Elizabeth Miller faced the start of a life-long, traumatic experience. As her foster parents were away from home, their 16-year old nephew; Nathaniel Smith took advantage of Elizabeth being home alone that night. Miller being in a vulnerable state, Nathaniel was persistent in attempting to force himself on her. The nephew continued to violate her and therefore, raped Elizabeth leaving her scarred for life. Nathaniel had no shame or guilt from what he did whereas, Elizabeth felt invaded and manipulated. Living in the household for about 14 years, she’d never thought something like this would occur, especially by someone who was related to her foster family. After Miller gave birth to her daughter as a result of getting raped by the Smiths’ relative, the Smith family turned their back on her in support of their nephew. Though, as you would expect the rapist to undergo punishment for their crime, the Smith family was determined to protect their family’s name from any embarrassment or shame. As a high-class family, they had the power to do this, unlike the Millers who could not afford to defend themselves. The Smiths took advantage of the Eugenics law and involuntarily committed Elizabeth to an asylum in Virginia. She was then asserted as “feebleminded and sexually promiscuous” by social workers at Virginia’s Colony for Epileptics and Feeble-Minded, who then stated she inherited these traits from her mother. 

        As news spread in the state about Miller’s case, a vast amount of people in Virginia supported Elizabeth, believing she should not be sterilized. Elizabeth went through many courts in hopes of collecting and/or gaining more support against her being sterilization. However the state and her own lawyers continued to fail her, being in favor of the Eugenics movement and supporters of it. The state and doctors of the institution continued to argue their reasons decision of sterilizing Elizabeth. They strongly believed that the procedure would hinder the reproduction of more abnormal offsprings, that can potentially lessen Miller’s chance of having a feebleminded baby. Though, the various lawyers Miller had, did no justice in defending her side and providing evidence that Elizabeth was completely mentally stable and far from feebleminded. Miller’s lawyers constantly were in contact with the opposing side’s lawyers, which were unethical collaborations that possibly sabotage her case to lose. Her lawyers also failed to mention in court that she was an unproblematic student in all local schools she attended, and was clearly religious since she attended church daily. Therefore, she had no voice nor, a just defense system to help her win the case and get justice. Later, the court decided that Miller would be filed for sterilization and hopefully make it less possible for her to reproduce again. Without Elizabeth Miller’s consent, doctors performed sterilization surgery on her consisting of also removing one inch from each fallopian tube. The tubes were ligated and the ends were cauterized by carbolic acid, which was then followed by alcohol. Later, Elizabeth Miller was then released after undergoing sterilization surgery. All in all, there was no justice for Miller in the case of her being a rape victim, and a victim of the Eugenics law and movement. 

        When Elizabeth’s daughter; Anne, reached around 6 months, social workers wanted to examine her to see if she was considered “fit” or contained any undesired traits they believed Elizabeth and her mother had. Social workers then determined in their belief that Anne was not a normal baby in relation to being related to the Millers. Social workers stated that Anne came out to looking not quite normal, therefore she automatically seen as another product baby of a feeble minded or mentally deficient mother. Although, Elizabeth went through these traumatic experience in her life, she was able to seek resilience from the adversities she and her family faced. Her family continued to live life, proving the state, social workers, doctors, and her foster family wrong by proceeding to have a basic standard of living. Elizabeth got married twice, and continued to go back to school and work even harder than before for her and her family. Anne and Elizabeth both succeeded in making it to the honor roll in their schools and attend church together every week. Both memorable human beings continued to live their normal lives proving others wrong. Although, Miller felt betrayed by her foster family and has a baby as a product of getting raped, it helped her appreciate being able to be there for her daughter growing up and love her the way she should be. After Elizabeth’s case story spread, it has become aware that over 65,000 Americans have been involuntarily sterilized and diagnosed as feeble minded or mentally deficient. Elizabeth Miller lived a long time helping to help and care others. The ideology of Eugenics making a better world and improving the quality of humanity was bound to come to an end, however majority victims like Miller are not always fortunate to find the resilience out of this. 

Re-Emeriging Diseases: Why Some Are Making A Comeback


Re-Emerging Diseases: Why Some Are Making a Comeback 


Heather Frias

Updated on December 10,2019


Throughout time vaccines have defeated diseases such as smallpox and the measles.Despite the success that have occurred, some of these diseases have been making a come back into society.


The reasons behind this occurrence are often difficult to pin down, however here are a few key reasons behind some of the re-emergences.


Vaccine Refusal


Although you may think that all families embrace vaccination, a growing number of families have been neglecting vaccines due to a misunderstanding of the necessity and safety of vaccination.Vaccines are a medical treatment that provides acquired immunity to a particular disease.Vaccines usually contains an agent that resembles a disease causing microorganism,This may mislead families to believe that vaccinations are dangerous and unnecessary.


The re-emergence of these diseases is very alarming and due to the increase in families refusing vaccinations if you are unvaccinated and you come in contact with measles , there is a 90% chance you will get it.According to research there is evidence that unvaccinated individuals seem to cluster into the same communities  resulting in these individuals increased vulnerability to the diseases.This means that if someone in these communities came in contact with a disease such as the measles, the disease would spread like wildfire.


Despite the negative impacts there are still people including celebrities who don’t vaccinate their children to prevent the risk of disease.Anti-vaccinators are responsible for the outbreak of the measles involved in Disneyland that led to more than 300 cases in the United States and Canada.


According to STAT news the Measles vaccine is effective enough to do the job ,experts believe.The measles component of the MMR vaccine- it also protects against mumps and rubella-prevents infection in 97 out of every 100 kids.It is not 100% because some people who receive the vaccine might not respond and could get the disease anyway if exposed.


If there is a decrease in vaccination rates in communities, these outbreaks will likely continue.


Waning or Insufficient Immunity

The Measles isn’t the only vaccine preventable disease thats been on the rise, diseases such as pertussis and mumps have also been on the rise.Not only is the rise due to vaccine refusal but also from waning of insufficient immunity.


Does this mean vaccinations really dont work? Not exactly.This just means that some people’s bodies may not respond to the vaccination


Vaccinations work by exposing the body to the specific pathogen and then and then fight the pathogen off by creating antibodies.the body then saves this information so they can fight off the pathogens in the future if the individual comes in contact with the disease again.Vaccines are a powerful tool to protect the health of individuals however they are not always guaranteed.


Climate Change

With the decrease  of climate change perhaps the most influential resurgence of disease is yet to come.Climate change is negatively impacting the environment all over the world which is a threat to human health and safety.


Scientists have come to conclusions that a warmer wetter planet will lead to a resurgence of a number of is very important for people to take the re-emergence of diseases very seriously to keep people healthy and safe in society.


As warmer temperatures arise there will be more precipitation that will draw in more mosquitoes risking  a greater chance of more outbreaks of diseases like Malaria.

A Word From Heather Frias

The reemergence of disease is very complex to understand, however the examples above are meant to illustrate how these factors are influencing the diseases and causing them to make a comeback.


Vaccinations and increase in climate change are not something to be over looked.Everyone should get vaccinated to protect themselves and others from harmful diseases.There should also be more action being taken against climate change for the sake of everyone’s health and environment.The significance of health sciences shouldn’t be overlooked.


        Growing up in the state of Virginia, I was always stared at and mocked upon by others. They said I didn’t look like them and it would be best if no one ever looked like me. In grade school the kids would reference me to a baboon making monkey noises while jumping around me in circles. “Bonnie the baboon” they’d shout out as I would run all the way home. The children would pull on my hair, and would trip me in the playground. I looked different compared to the other children in my grade and it only got worse throughout the years. I was pulled out from school by my mother in the fifth grade and I made sure to make the most of it. I would go through the trash of the school and the trash of some homes, making an attempt at finding a good book to read.

        Last year at the age of only seventeen, the doctors had informed my mother of what was to come of me. They told us about what was going on in the state of Virginia and said there wasn’t much that we could do. I would have to be sterilized against my will and would never be able to have a child of my own. Knowing that I could never have kids was such dreadful news. I always wanted a miniature version of me, a little me who would have curly blonde hair and rosy cheeks, with long curled eyelashes and thick eyebrows. A little me that would possess the ability to play soccer with her classmates without getting judged and without getting laughed at. A little me who would have actual friends and wouldn’t have to sit alone while eating her lunch beside the creek. 

        I have Treacher Collins Syndrome or TCS for short. It’s characterized by deformities of the ears, eyes, cheekbones, and chin. This is a result of new mutations rather than inheritance. Unfortunately I’m the only one in my family with this condition and I guess god wanted it to be this way. The goal of eugenics is to improve the genetic composition of the population. The government believes that the act of sterilization can be imposed upon the insane, idiotic, imbecile, or moronic and convicted rapists or criminals if recommended by a board of experts. In a week I will have to be sterilized, and forget the thoughts about having children and grandchildren. I will have one inch removed from each of my Fallopian tubes. The tubes will be ligated and the ends cauterized by carbolic acid followed by alcohol and the edges of the broad ligaments brought together with continuous suture. 

        Every night I sit at home and cry about how little time I have and what they are going to do to me. The tears stream down my disfigured cheeks as i sit upon the window seal. I watch as the crickets chirp away to the sound of the rain. The lights are out in the neighborhood meaning everyone has a candle beside their window. I can hear my mothers snoring from across the room, it’s one of the reasons I can’t seem to fall asleep at night. As I attempt to get up from my seat I accidentally knock over the candle that stands tall beside me and awaken my mother from her slumber. I try my best to not be seen but it’s too late. She hears the scuffling of the carpet as I try to scratch off the wax from it, this leaves a stain on both the carpet and my dress. My mother sits up and looks right into my direction, although it’s dark, I’m still able to make out her facial expressions. Throughout the last couple of months her hairline had started to recede, and gray hair was forming. She seems to have a face of concern, she’s scared and worried. Her eyes don’t seem to sparkle i. The moonlight like they use too.i know she’s thinking about me, that seems to be the only thing on her mind lately. Without hesitation my mother stands up to come and sit beside me on the floor, near the stained carpet. We sit this way until the deck of dawn, when the birds start chirping and you could hear the sound of cars driving by, just below my window. 

  • Momma I’m scared.” 
  • Don’t worry Bonnie my precious baby, they don’t know what they’re talking about, I guess things were meant to be this way.” My mother says as she gives me a kiss on my forehead

        My mother always told me to pray to god and to talk to him, even if it meant that I would get no answer in return. Growing up I thought god made me this way because I had done something wrong to upset him but I couldn’t recall any sin I had committed. Or maybe mama was to blame, I would think to myself. Had she sinned when she was a youngster? Maybe she stole items from the fair, because her parents were poor and couldn’t afford everything. Or maybe mama lied and it could be why papa left us. For a huge part of my life I blamed her for the way that I was and she never seemed to yell back at me. Maybe it was because she pitied me and felt sorry for the way that I looked and sounded. I’ve always been religious and never meant to cause harm to anyone, but unfortunately I can’t seem to say the same thing about them. All I can do is pray to the lord  that this procedure will go well and I can make it out alive, and I can then be able to move on from this traumatic part of my life. I hope that in the future they’ll be able to see how many lives they ruined and how many dreams they shattered, and the number of families they’ve torn apart. 


Research Project

Significance of Sleep Every Night 

By Israt Banna, New York College of Technology 

10 December 2019 


Image Copyright Google Images 

There are people who understands the importance of diet and exercise but believe that sleep is unnecessary and waste of lifetime.  

Sleep is a state of relaxation for the body and brain, which helps to maintain body balance. 

 During sleep state the sub-conscious mind of the brain finds solutions to various problems in our life. Lack of sleep can cause fatigue and sleep deprivation. 

Sleep plays a vital role in regulating mental, physical and emotional heath. We sleep because our body needs to be restored and refreshedCarl Zimmer said, “our body requires long periods of sleep to grow muscle, repair tissue, and synthesize hormones.”            

Getting enough sleep is important because, “it helps us repair and restore our organ systems including our muscles immune system and various other hormones.” Sleep aids our body to heal and grow by providing our body with enough nutrients and regulating hormonal balance in our body. 

Sleep deprivation causes increase of stress and cortisol hormone in the body, which triggers the skin to produce excessive sebum and results in skin breakouts and acne. 

A case in this point, acne can be causeby lack of sleep and it’s a huge problem that teens encounter. Studies shows that most teen ages need exactly 9 or more hours of sleep, however, the average teenagers only sleeps 7 and half hours or less; nearly estimated that 85 percent of those teenager get acne. 

Though sleep information gets processed in our brain, sleep helps our brain to encode, store and retrieve knowledge. Pevzner, Holly said, “sleep is necessary to consolidate a memory so that it can be recalled in the future.”  

For example, when I sleep enough at night before an exam, I remember better what I studied. When I sleep after studying or gaining new information, the brain intakes and processes the knowledge and sticks to the mind, later it retains it as a memory. 

While we sleep our body produces protein molecules that can be used to fight infection and diseases. As researchers have found that “not getting enough sleep may lead to type 2 diabetes by affecting how your body processes glucose.” Sleep controls blood glucose level, lack of sleep can cause diabetes problems because, as the amount of sleep decreases, the blood sugar level increases. 

REM Sleep 

Rapid Eye Movement sleep is essential. 

During REM sleep dreams can occur, our brain is active, blood pressure and heart rate increases, more oxygen flows to the brain, while information is combined and synthesized as memory.  

“REM is the phase of deep sleep during which most dreaming and memory consolidation is believed to occur.” 

 Scientists say, “our brains require REM sleep each night to function properly.” 


Image Copyright Google Images    

 “During non- REM rest, the body has higher activity degrees of cellular division as well as regeneration, which are essential for muscle mass healing.” 

REM sleep can lower PTSD symptoms. Post- traumatic stress disorder is a serious life-threatening mental health condition cause by pervious experiences that can last for years. Study found “REM sleep immediately following a stressful or traumatic event reduces PTSD- like symptoms.” 

Sleep is crucial for reducing stress, lowering blood pressure and improving memory. 

REM sleep directly assists our brain parts to do its jobs. An analogy, hippocampus, amygdala and prefrontal cortex process emotions, motivation, memory, attention and logical reasoning during REM sleep. 

Additionally, “sleep can help you keep weight under control by regulating the hormones that affect your appetite and reduce your craving for high calorie food.” Sleep has a link to our appetite; lack of sleep makes us hungrier because, when our brain and body is restless, it releases hormones that makes us hungry and less satisfied of our diet. Proper sleep at night helps to maintain body mass, healthy diet, strong memory and fresh mood every day. 

Lack of Sleep increase Cardiovascular Disease 

Sleep helps to maintain healthy body balance. The hours of sleep that each person needs at every night vary person to person. The average hours of sleep a person need every night is 7 to 9 hours. 

 “Healthy rest physical fitness benefits with proper sleep the body can recuperate from physical anxieties, reconstruct, and procedure and also bear in mind new information.” While lack of sleep causes body function instability and increases the risk of heart disease. 

Charles Czeisler  said, “difficulty falling asleep was associated with a percent increased relative risk for cardiovascular disease.” 

Lack of sleep produces hormone in our body that increases stress, inflammation and resistance  

of insulin in the body; rises the causes of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.  


Image Copyright Google Images 

The graph shows the difference in physical health between two groups of people affected by sleeping habits more and less than 6 hours. According to the graph people who slept less than 6 hours are 2% less healthy than people who slept more than 6 hours.  Also, people who slept less than 6 hours had a 6% more hypertension and diabetes risk than people who slept more than 6 hours. Lastly, there were 7% more heart disease and stroke rate in people who slept less than 6 hours compare to the group who slept more than 6 hours. 

Insomnia is a sleep disorder, in such situation people have difficulty falling and staying asleep. Insomnia causes high blood pressure and cardiovascular diseases. Thus, if we don’t get enough sleep, we increase the risk of heart diseases. 

Healthy sleep is essential because, during sleep our body and brain removes toxic material that builds up during the day because of burning energy and “when we go to sleep those toxic materials are flashed from our brains.” 

Sleep plays a fundamental role in our physical, mental and emotional health. Sleep links with repairing and curing of our heart and blood vessels. Continuing sleep deficiency increases the probability of high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke, kidney and heart disease. 

Lifestyle factors also makes a difference to healthy sleep at night, so avoid: 

  • Blue light exposure in the evening 
  • Daytime naps 
  • Caffeine late in the day 
  • Alcohol consumption 
  • smoking  
  • Unhealthy food 
  • Not doing exercise