ID# 1332:
Critcal review of Mongrel Virginians, by Abraham Myerson, Mental Hygiene
Circa 1926
Pages: (1|2|3|4)
University of Albany, SUNY, Estabrook, SPE,XMS 80.9 Bx 1 folder1-36

Critcal review of <i>Mongrel Virginians</i>, by Abraham Myerson, Mental Hygiene

642 Mental Hygiene and there is a lack of personnel and equipment to divide the children into groups." There seems to be a large amount of sexual immorality in this group. Not only are they free with one another, but white men from the neighboring communities come in to help the matter along. Yet one is not impressed with the reliability of the information given to the authors: "A feebleminded boy of twelve with a mental age of 6 told the writers all about the illegitimate children of one of the Win women and who the fathers were." My own acquaintance with boys with a mental age of 6 makes me question very strongly either the authenticity of the information given or the actual mental age of the source of information. Either one or the other is incorrect. It is interesting to note that "intemperance and drunkenness are not found to any great extent among the Wins". The explanation that "the economic level of the Wins is too low to offer a market for bootleggers from the outside" does not, of course, explain the lack of alcoholism. Very few groups are so low that they do not know how to produce alcohol for themselves. And marvelous to relate, there is "little or no venereal disease among the Wins". This throws a degree of doubt upon the amount of prostitution amongst them Studies of prostitutes all over the world show a vast amount of venereal disease. In the records given by the authors, the term, "prostitute", appears in relationship to a great many of the women. This does not mean that prostitution may not occur without venereal disease, but it is decidedly unlikely. I doubt very much that the statements on tuberculosis which the authors make are worth anything. "The death records of the Wins have been very meager and previous to 1912 no mention is made of the cause of death in the few records that do exist. These few records, with the information from the people, show that sixteen of the Wins are known to have died from tuberculosis and two more probably from the same disease. There are two adults now living known to have the disease and three other suspected cases. These figures are based on general knowledge, not on the results of any regular examinations." If the other facts have no better basis than this, little can be said for the study. Accepting the book, however, on its face value, it merely reiterates what has been shown many times - that people living in a secluded community, out of the tide of cultural civilization, with no access to schools and a very low economic status, are apt to be primitive in mentality and primitive in morals. [begin italics]That study shows anything at all about the results of inter-racial marriages can be definitely denied. [end italics] In the first place, the white women who intermarried in the group [end]

Copyright 1999-2004: Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory; American Philosophical Society; Truman State University; Rockefeller Archive Center/Rockefeller University; University of Albany, State University of New York; National Park Service, Statue of Liberty National Monument; University College, London; International Center of Photography; Archiv zur Geschichte der Max-Planck-Gesellschaft, Berlin-Dahlem; and Special Collections, University of Tennessee, Knoxville.
The images and text in this Archive are solely for educational and scholarly uses. The materials may be used in digital or print form in reports, research, and other projects that are not offered for sale. Materials in this archive may not be used in digital or print form by organizations or commercial concerns, except with express permission.