Wesley Critz George

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Wesley Critz George
EducationUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Wesley Critz George (1888–1982) was an American academic. He was Professor of histology and embryology and Chair of the Department of Anatomy at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill from 1940 to 1949. He was a eugenicist and a segregationist.

Early life[edit]

Wesley Critz George was born in 1888.[1] He graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he received a bachelor of arts degree in 1911, followed by a master's degree in 1912.[2] He received a PhD in Zoology from the same institution in 1918.[2]


George was Professor of Biology at Guilford College from 1916 to 1917.[2] He was a Maude Fellow at Princeton University in 1918.[2] He became an Adjunct Professor of Biology at the University of Georgia in 1919, and an Associate Professor of Historology and Embryology at the University of Tennessee from 1919 to 1920.[2]

George returned to his alma mater, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he was Associate Professor of Anatomy from 1920 to 1924, and Chair of the Department of Anatomy from 1940 to 1949 at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.[2][3] He became Professor Emeritus in 1949.[2]

Beginning with studies of sponges and tunicates,[4] he became an internationally recognized researcher on the genetics of race. George is remembered for his 87-page pamphlet, The Biology of the Race Problem, printed for the Commission of the Governor (John Patterson) of Birmingham, Alabama, 1962.[5]

Views on race[edit]

George argued that the division between Black and White races was founded on fundamental biological differences. He saved special venom for Franz Boas and the Boasian physical anthropologists who argued that race was of no biological consequence. George used some of the results of intelligence tests that Arthur Jensen and Charles Murray and others used later as evidence of lower average intelligence among Blacks.[6]

After the 1954 Supreme Court Brown v. Board of Education decision, George's fight against school integration escalated, reaching its height in 1955 - 1957, when George was active in the Patriots of North Carolina and then in the North Carolina Defenders of States' Rights which picked up the anti-integration banner after the Patriots' demise.[6]

A 1961 article in The Citizens' Council quoted George as saying,[7]

We badly need the states to establish and support offices to present the evil side of race amalgamation ... we have truth and virtue on our side.

George served on the Executive Committee of the International Association for the Advancement of Ethnology and Eugenics.[8]

Death and legacy[edit]

George died in 1982.[1] His papers are preserved at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.[1]


  1. ^ a b c "W. C. George Papers, 1904-1971". Portal: African American Documentary Resources in the Southern Historical Collection at UNC Chapel Hill. Retrieved 24 August 2015.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g "Science and the Race Problem". The Quarterly Review of Biology. 38 (4): 366–371. December 1963. doi:10.1086/403942. JSTOR 2818064.
  3. ^ Lewis, George (August 2004). ""Scientific Certainty": Wesley Critz George, Racial Science and Organised White Resistance in North Carolina, 1954-1962". Journal of American Studies. 38 (2): 227–247. JSTOR 27557515.
  4. ^ W.C. George and H.V. Wilson, "Sponges of Beaufort (N.C.) Harbor and vicinity", Bulletin of the Bureau of Fisheries 36, 1919; W.C. George, "A comparative study of the blood of the tunicates", 1939.
  5. ^ George is represented in S.T. Joshi, Documents of American prejudice: An anthology of writings on race from Thomas Jefferson to David Duke, 1999.
  6. ^ a b Jackson, John P. (2005). Science for Segregation: Race, Law, and the Case against Brown v. Board of Education. NYU Press. ISBN 978-0-8147-4271-6. Lay summary (30 August 2010).
  7. ^ "Professor Urges Use Of State Funds To Show Why Segregation Is Best". The Citizens' Council. March 1961. p. 4. Retrieved 9 December 2017.
  8. ^ Winston, Andrew S. (Spring 1998). "Science in the service of the far right: Henry E. Garrett, the IAAEE, and the Liberty Lobby - International Association for the Advancement of Ethnology - Experts in the Service of Social Reform: SPSSI, Psychology, and Society, 1936-1996". Journal of Social Issues. 54: 179–210. doi:10.1111/j.1540-4560.1998.tb01212.x.

External links[edit]

  • S. Niven, "Wesley Critz George: Scientist and Segregationist", North Carolina Literary Review, 1998