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Mercedes de Guardiola and Amy Godine, Vermont for the Vermonters and The Black Woods

This is an in person event at Northshire Books in Manchester, VT!

The two authors will visit Northshire Books in Manchester to discuss their latest works of social history. "Vermont for the Vermonters" examines how the state’s eugenics movement led to state-sanctioned programs of institutionalization, sterilization, and family separation aimed at the most vulnerable Vermonters. The Black Woods chronicles the history of Black pioneers in New York's northern wilderness.

In “Vermont for the Vermonters”: The History of Eugenics in the Green Mountain State, Mercedes de Guardiola examines how the state’s eugenics movement emerged out of the public policies of the nineteenth century and led to state-sanctioned programs of institutionalization, sterilization, family separation, and education aimed at the most vulnerable Vermonters. Exploring the social and political legacy of the movement, de Guardiola brings new scholarship and context to one of Vermont’s darkest chapters.

Eugenics is a pseudo- scientific field of selective human breeding that rose to prominence in the early 1900s and was the foundation of Nazi Germany. Vermont was one of many American states to adopt eugenics as the basis for many public policies. In 2021, the state formally apologized for the practice, and the legislature is exploring ongoing responses.

In The Black Woods, Amy Godine recovers a robust history of Black pioneers who carved from the wilderness a future for their families and their civic rights. Her immersive story returns the Black pioneers and their descendants to their rightful place at the center of this history. With stirring accounts of racial justice, and no shortage of heroes, The Black Woods amplifies the unique significance of the Adirondacks in the American imagination.

Mercedes de Guardiola's research focuses on the history of eugenics in America. A leading expert on Vermont's eugenics movement, she testified before the state legislature during hearings in the 2020s. She earned her BA from Dartmouth College and lives in New York City.

From Saratoga Springs, New York, independent scholar Amy Godine has been writing and speaking about ethnic, migratory, and Black Adirondack history for more than three decades. Exhibits she has curated include Dreaming of Timbuctoo at the John Brown Farm State Historic Site in North Elba, New York.

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