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A new book explores the connection between American populism, eugenics and racism

Omer Madison Kem was a congressman from Nebraska's third district from 1891 to 1893.
Solomon D. Butcher
Omer Madison Kem was a Nebraska congressman from 1891-1897. He believed that people he deemed "undesirable" should be eliminated through methods such as birth control, forced sterilization and even altering marriage laws.

Julie Carr dives through her family history to discover the connection between populism and racism in her new book "Mud, Blood and Ghosts."

Author Julie Carr's great-grandfather, Omer Madison Kem, was a United States congressman who served Nebraska from 1891-1897.

He was also a eugenicist, operating under the belief that people he deemed to be "undesirable" should be eliminated by preventing them from having children. That included people with disabilities, poor people and even people of color, among others.

In her new book, "Mud, Blood and Ghosts," Carr uses her family history to trace the connections between populism, eugenics and spiritualism. She joined KCUR's Up to Date to discuss why populism in the U.S. has a strong disposition toward racism.

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