“Price of Pollution” (June 6, 1923)


In this article, published June 6, 1923, in the Richmond News Leader, its editor Douglas Southall Freeman endorses the Anglo-Saxon Clubs of America‘s goal of racial segregation, but he questions their legal approach to achieving it. Their strategy eventually results in the Racial Integrity Laws. Freeman aligns himself with the work of Madison Grant, who espoused eugenics, a pseudo-science of white superiority, when he laments the failure of white elites to prevent people of different races from mixing. In Virginia, white people, Black people, and Virginia Indians have been intermixing since European settlement.


As the Anglo-Saxon Clubs become better known, their progress will be watched with much interest, especially by people who have read with sympathetic understanding Madison Grant’s “Passing of a Great Race.” The aim of the organization founded in Richmond and described in the news columns this afternoon is the maintenance of racial purity, racial integrity and lofty racial ideals. The practical question is whether that aim is attainable and if so, by what methods. To judge from the carefully-prepared statement of the purpose of the clubs, there is no disposition to dogmatize or to assume there is a single sure remedy for those pollutions of blood against which every intelligent race has struggled, some of them in vain. The clubs insist on proper laws against miscegenation and seek to insure the registration by race of all persons now living. This registration is intended to supplement the recordation of births under the existing vital statistics law.

Presumably the clubs will not rely solely upon laws which, however proper and desirable in them, can be evaded sometimes or defied. The maintenance of the purity of any race depends on social standards and on its morality not less than on its laws. The great tragedy of the Anglo-Saxon race is that politically it dominates, but biologically it is not a dominant. There is no “tribe” of modern times that more completely has spread itself throughout the world, but there is none that has paid a more dismal price for exogamy.

APA Citation:
Leader, Richmond News. “Price of Pollution” (June 6, 1923). (2021, December 09). In Encyclopedia Virginia.
MLA Citation:
Leader, Richmond News. "“Price of Pollution” (June 6, 1923)" Encyclopedia Virginia. Virginia Humanities, (09 Dec. 2021). Web. 24 Apr. 2024
Last updated: 2023, September 11
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