May 30, 2007
As an internationally recognized scholar and historian of the 20th century eugenics movement, Professor Paul Lombardo can recount in depth the now-disparaged 100-year history of state-sanctioned forced sterilizations of people who were deemed unfit to reproduce and the uses of eugenics as a tool of public health policy around the world.
As a talented lawyer and civil rights advocate, Professor Lombardo has garnered an impressive record of work in numerous states to obtain official government acknowledgement of – and regret over – those states' eugenics statutes that authorized the coerced sterilization of thousands of their citizens.
Professor Lombardo joined the College of Law faculty in 2006, and turned his attention to eugenics legislation in Indiana (the first state to enact such laws in 1907) and in Georgia (which enacted a Depression-era eugenics law in 1937). He drafted state resolutions denouncing these eugenic laws, which were introduced in the Georgia and Indiana legislatures. Successfully passed, these resolutions were Georgia Senate Resolution 247 (2007) and Indiana Senate Concurrent Resolution 91 (2007).
Professor Lombardo also led a successful campaign to erect an historical marker in Indiana commemorating the Centennial of the first U.S. sterilization law. The resolutions and marker were part of a three-day long commemoration in Indianapolis that included an Indiana Supreme Court continuing education program, a State library exhibit on eugenics, and a day-long symposium at the State Capitol. Several of these and related events were funded through an N.I.H. grant in which Professor Lombardo is participating.