In the first half of the 20th century, white elites who dominated Virginia politics sought to increase state control over African Americans and lower-class whites, whom they saw as oversexed and lacking sexual self-restraint. In order to reaffirm the existing political and social order, white politicians legalized eugenic sterilization, increased state efforts to control venereal disease and prostitution, cracked down on interracial marriage, and enacted statewide movie censorship. Providing a detailed picture of the interaction of sexuality, politics, and public policy, Pippa Holloway explores how these measures were passed and enforced. Holloway's analysis demonstrates that the cultural context that characterized certain populations as sexually dangerous worked in tandem with the political context that denied them the right to vote.
"Persuasively argued and well-researched. . . . The significance of Holloway's study lies in reassessing Southern culture and politics . . . and ultimately making abundantly clear how vital the study of sexuality is to broader narratives in American history."--Journal of Social History