As a doctor, Annie Alexander had the training and dedication to heal thousands of individuals over her 42 years as Charlotte's - and the South's - female physician. As an educated citizen, she devoted thought and effort to treating the causes of illness. She spoke and wrote on subjects like nutrition and sanitation in order to empower people to make choices that would bring about healthy lives for themselves and their families.
Like many others in the field of public health in the 20th century, Dr. Alexander was drawn to the theory of eugenics, the idea that the regulation of reproduction would improve the "stock" of the human race. Like other physicians, she knew the damage that alcohol and other drugs could do to families. She saw the susceptibility to addiction as a congenital weakness, one that should be purged from society. An article in the Charlotte Observer (October 6, 1913, p.8) paraphrased her arguments this way:
"The highest racial standards cannot be expected if drunkards and dopists, weak-minded persons and those who are physical wrecks continue to perpetuate their imperfections for generations to come."
The year in which she spoke was the peak of a half dozen years of interest in the topic, judging from the frequency of the word "Eugenics" in the Observer's headlines, and Annie Alexander's name was associated with it only once. Today, the subject of “eugenics” brings up horrible connotations because of its use in Nazi ideology and because of sterilization programs that took place in North Carolina and other states. Her life's work speaks of her compassion, regardless of her advocacy on one occasion of a doctrine that turned out to be cruel in its application.
Charlotte Observer, October 16, 1913, p.8
Annie Alexander on Eugenics