Clarence Gamble, Sanger's Racist Friend

Clarence Gamble worked for decades in Margaret Sanger’s national organizations (all early forms of Planned Parenthood) as well as the state affiliates. As a personal friend, she recruited him and involved him in important decisions. In part this had to do with his wealth: he was one of the heirs to the Proctor and Gamble fortune.

Gamble was a racist and ardent eugenicist. He was actively involved in the eugenic sterilization group, Birthright (later the Human Betterment Association), and opened more than twenty eugenic sterilization clinics in the Midwest and the South.

“To date less [sic] than 2,000 insane and mentally defective North Carolinians have been sterilized under the existing law–a figure that represents less than one out of every 41 of the State’s estimated mentally unfit. This means that for every one man or woman who has been sterilized, there are 40 others who can continue to pour defective genes into the State’s blood stream to pollute and degrade future generation.” (Clarence J. Gamble, “Better Human Beings Tomorrow, " Better Health, October 1947, 14, 15)

See more about Gamble’s involvement with eugenic sterilization and North Carolina’s reaction in particular in the Associate Press story, "Questions, Answers about History of Eugenics in US.”

Gamble was elected president of the Pennsylvania Birth Control Federation (PBCF) in 1933 and served as the Pennsylvania representative on the board of Sanger’s American Birth Control League and then of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America from 1933-46. He was also a member of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America executive committee from 1939-42 and actively involved in the International Planned Parenthood Federation. He founded the Pathfinder Fund, a eugenic population-control organization. He infuriated population-control advocates in developing countries, who considered his methods and language to be racist.