Researchers excavating the University of Mississippi Medical Center’s campus have discovered about 7,000 graves, beneath the campus itself. The land belonged to the Mississippi State Lunatic Asylum until it was closed in the 1930’s.
Researchers say the find may offer some kind of closure for families whose loved ones vanished several decades ago. Judging by the way this was phrased, it seems as if several people up and vanished in Mississippi during the time this facility operated, and people may have been murdered or even experimented on here.
This is consistent with eugenics, the hey-day of sterilizations taking place during the first decades of the 20th Century, and other horrifying evidence.
According to the Huffington Post:
“According to Zuckerman, who is helping carry out excavations with the Mississippi State Asylum Cemetery Project, 35,000 people were institutionalized at the facility from 1855 until 1935.
Though decades have passed, she said some patients’ family members haven’t stopped wondering whatever happened to them.”
Associate anthropology professor at Mississippi State Dr. Molly Zuckerman said “Mortality was very, very high in the [Mississippi State Lunatic Asylum]. Most died 13 months after they were institutionalized. People consistently want to know, can you find my ancestors in the records? Overall, it’s just tremendous sadness and curiosity.”
Zuckerman said she typically receives two or three emails weekly from the descendants of the asylum victims, seeking to discover the truth about their family members.
She continued: “Sometimes it’s a straightforward exchange, other times we talk on the phone and I get to learn about the story that surrounds this ancestor, this lost ancestry. It’s never a happy story. It’s always tragic.”
As shown by this graph, a little over 300 sterilizations took place between 1933 and 1938, the most dense period of coercive sterilization in Mississippi history.
(Image credit: Lutz Kaelber)
The Mississippi State asyulum was operational until 1935, so something changed at the facility during the peak hey-day of eugenics in America, when most people were being coercively sterilized in Mississippi.
According to eugenics academic researcher from University of Vermont Lutz Kaelber:
“The eugenics project in Mississippi resulted in 683 sterilizations total. Of these sterilizations, 160 were performed on males, while 523 were performed on females. Those considered mentally ill made up almost nine tenth of the sterilization victims, and those deemed “mentally deficient” made up close to one tenth. A small percentage did not fall into those categories. In regard to the states’ ranking by total number of sterilizations, Mississippi ranks number eighteen.”
Since “mentally ill” people were the primary ones being sterilized, there’s a good chance the University of Mississippi and its associated facilities for the “mentally ill” were involved with eugenics and coercive sterilization, if that isn’t already common knowledge.
With the full historical perspective in mind of eugenics, it seems very likely that atrocities were committed against people declared mentally ill, and some of them may have been murdered.
What about poor people who were extremely intelligent and not in agreement with the norms and morals of that era, those who rebelled against the status quo? Were they declared mentally ill, and if so, were some of them coercively sterilized or murdered in American facilities such as this?
It would seem as if that is the million dollar question. Judging by how the system treats ideological rebels and free thinkers today, I’d say the aforementioned possibility is a likely one.
(Image credit: panoramio)