Controlling Birth: Contraception and the Politics of Public Health
This exhibit originally debuted as part of an event celebrating 100 years of women's suffrage in the United States. “She Rocks the Vote” was enabled by a grant from the State Library of North Carolina’s Institute of Museum and Library Services Diversity and Inclusion Mini-Grants program. Original plans for a live, in-person March 2020 event were derailed by COVID-19. We are now happy to announce the installation of the physical The "Controlling Birth" exhibit, highlighting numerous artifacts which are currently on display from February 22nd - March 31st.
Dr. Jennifer Le Zotte, Assistant Professor of History and Material Culture, and graduate History students, Kyra McCormick, Rebecca Mullins, and Heather Byrum offer a curated exhibit about birth control in twentieth-century North Carolina. This display is far from comprehensive. Its objects are intended to illustrate an important story of gender and race inequity in medical and reproductive health history. Today, and for the past half dozen decades or so, the oral pill has revolutionized women's reproductive choices, though the story of its testing and approval also underscores gender and racial inequalities in the United States (a story told by historian Elaine Tyler May). Intentionally, this exhibit concentrates on the equally revealing narratives of contraceptives other than birth control pills, while recognizing the Pill's importance. The history of birth control in America reflects the importance of a healthy, democratic polity, including full-throated participation at every level by women of every background.