Wesley Critz George

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This article is about medical school professor. For the Canadian ice hockey player, see Wes George.

Wesley Critz George (1888–1982) was a professor of histology and embryology at the medical school of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he chaired the anatomy department. Beginning with studies of sponges and tunicates,[1] 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.[2]

George argued that the division between "black" and "white" races was founded on fundamental biological differences, and 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 same materials on intelligence tests that Arthur Jensen and Charles Murray among others later used as evidence of lower black average intelligence.[3]

Materials from 1944, and preserved at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, document George's theories concerning the genetic basis of racial differences in average intelligence. There are also letters documenting George's disputes with religious leaders, particularly at the Chapel of the Cross in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, about racial mixing in churches, and George's disapproval of the liberal tendencies of university president Frank Porter Graham and sociologist Howard W. Odum. 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.[3]

George's activities in I. Beverly Lake's unsuccessful campaign for North Carolina governor are reflected in documents dated 1958 - 1960. George was also interested in race policies in other nations, specifically in Rhodesia and South Africa. Among his correspondents in the North Carolina archive are Carleton S. Coon, James P. Dees, Henry E. Garrett, Luther Hodges, R. Carter Pittman, Carleton Putnam, Clayton Rand, and Archibald Roosevelt. The archive also contains a considerable number of letters and other items that George received from individuals and organizations that also viewed race differences in average intelligence to be partly genetic.

Other writings by George relate to academic freedom; civil rights; genetics and race; and communism.


  1. ^ 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.
  2. ^ George is represented in S.T. Joshi, Documents of American prejudice: An anthology of writings on race from Thomas Jefferson to David Duke, 1999.
  3. ^ 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). 

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