In 1847, the crowd for a lecture given by the famous Louis R. Agassiz would have been extensive — in Charleston, South Carolina, it was feverish. The local naturalists at The Literary Club of Charleston were preoccupied with a question they suspected only Agassiz, a newly initiated professor of zoology at Harvard, could answer: were Black and white men indeed separate species? Before he relocated to the United States, Agassiz had accepted the scientific consensus of the time, that all men belonged to the same species. But in the lectures he delivered in Cambridge, he began to hint at the more fringe theory of polygenism. In Charleston, Agassiz took his first steps towards publicizing his theory — a decision which would forever alter his legacy as a scientist. He declared that Black people were, in profound ways, anatomically distinct from white people. He presented racist speculation after racist speculation, saying even that “the brain of the Negro is that of the imperfect brain of a seven month’s infant in the womb of a White.”
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Before the time of Allan and Delair, Comyns Beaumont reviewed the work of Establishment geologists, Charles Lyell, Louis Agassiz and James Geikie. He exposed their scientific palaver for the nonsense it is, and wrote of the Ice Age theory in these words: What! No Ice Age which came and went, spreading over hundreds of thousands of years as all good geologists proclaim?
Branches or types are characterized by the plan of their structure, Classes, by the manner in which that plan is executed, as far as ways and means are concerned, Orders, by the degrees of complication of that structure, Families, by their form, as far as determined by structure, Genera, by the details of the execution in special parts, and Species, by the relations of individuals to one another and to the world in which they live, as well as by the proportions of their parts, their ornamentation, etc.