Dear Mr. Wilbur:
Thank you very much for your letter of inquiry about the Dight
Institute and the relationship of genetics to adoption practices. . . .
The question of adoptability of children with some Negro heredity
is one which results in my seeing babies practically every week
to determine whether there is actually an appreciable amount of
Negro blood present and if there is, what type of placement would
be likely to be satisfactory.
The general principle which you inquire about is concerned with
the mechanism of heredity of Negroid traits. They behave in a very
straight-forward fashion and are not concealed in the recessive
condition as are such traits as albinism and blue eyes. Thus, if
a Negro marries a white person his African ancestry will show in
some or all of his children and the degree to which the African
traits show will depend upon the proportion of their father’s
Negro heredity which each child received. No child can received
more Negro heredity than the Negro parent possessed. Therefore the
child cannot be any more Negroid than his Negro parent. Generally
he will only receive a part of the Negro heredity and will therefore
be less Negroid than the Negro parent.
If two Negroes marry the children can get some Negro heredity from
both parents which may add together to give a more Negroid child
than either parents as well as less Negroid children who got a large
proportion of the white heredity from their Negro parents. . . .
If you would like to collect some of the babies with alleged colored
blood together on some one day in January or February, I would be
glad to give a short talk and examine them, pointing out the diagnostic
characteristics which are useful. I am willing to give my time but
under the circumstances would expect Iowa to pay my traveling expenses.
I have given an Institute on Genetics and Adoption to the Pacific
Child Welfare Groups in Los Angeles and have been asked to repeat
it for them in March.
If I can be of further help to you in any way, please let me know.
Very sincerely yours,
Director, Dight Institute on Human Genetics
University of Minnesota