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Jackson Laboratory To Remove Name Of Founder And Eugenicist From Conference Center

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Nick Sambides Jr.
/
BDN File

The Jackson Laboratory in Bar Harbor has announced that it will remove the name of founder C.C. Little from its conference center.

Little was a longtime champion of eugenics, a belief that birth control, and even sterilization, could be used to selectively improve the genetic stock of populations. Little was not alone — eugenics was once widely influential in the United States and Europe, and it influenced the thinking of Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger, inventor Alexander Graham Bell and NAACP Co-founder W.E.B. Du Bois.

Eugenics also heavily influenced the thinking of the Nazis, and it fell out of favor after World War II. But tens of thousands of people in the United States were sterilized between 1907 and 1963 under state laws based on eugenic beliefs.

In a statement, Jackson Lab president and CEO Dr. Ed Liu said Little was a "complex" figure whose contributions to science are intertwined with both his role in the genetics movement and his longtime relationship with the tobacco industry. And he said the company "repudiates the social and political construct of eugenics, an idea and movement now thoroughly discredited on both scientific and moral grounds."