Legitimizing the Unthinkable: A Disability Rights Perspective on Nazi Medicine with Harriet McBryde Johnson.March 9, 2006, 7 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.
Nazi science and medicine focused on eliminating both physical and mental impairments, real and perceived, as part of the path to "racial purity." Eugenics-based sterilization policies in Germany and throughout the world as well as the Nazis' so-called "euthanasia" program were often justified by physicians and scientists as relieving individual suffering while contributing to the "greater good." While the racial theories underpinning the "eugenics" movement were discredited in the aftermath of the Holocaust, the view of people with disabilities as objects of pity is generally accepted in our own time as is the prejudice that disabled lives are inherently "inferior." Renowned author, advocate, and attorney Harriet McBryde Johnson will bring a disability rights perspective to bear on issues raised by the Museum's Deadly Medicine exhibition, in a presentation that promises to provoke lively discussion.
|Harriet McBryde Johnson|
Harriet McBryde Johnson has been a lawyer in Charleston, South Carolina, since 1985. Her solo practice emphasizes benefits and civil rights claims for poor and working people with disabilities. For more than twenty-five years, she has been active in the struggle for social justice, especially disability rights, and has earned national prominence and recognition for her work. She is a frequent contributor to The New York Times Magazine, to the disability press, and author of the acclaimed memoir Too Late to Die Young.
|Interviewer & Program Moderator|
Joan Ringelheim is Director of Oral History at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and has conducted a wide range of public interview programs with authors, historians, survivors, and public figures. After receiving a Ph.D. in philosophy from Boston University, she taught philosophy for 13 years. In 1982-83 she received The American Council of Learned Societies Fellowship and a Kent Fellowship from the Center for Humanities at Wesleyan University. She is the author of numerous publications and since joining the Museum in 1989 has also served as Research Director for the Permanent Exhibition and Director of Education.