$50,000 To Victims Of North Carolina Eugenics Program

Ken AshfordLocal Interest, Women's IssuesLeave a Comment

That's right.  North Carolina had an eugenics program which sterilized an estimated 7,600 people between 1929 and 1974, many of them against their will.  It was carried out by individuals, nonprofit organizations and the state government that felt that human reproduction should be controlled.  Social workers and the like could petition for the court-ordered sterilization of people who had epilepsy, sickness, “feeblemindedness” and other disabilities.  It is believed that 2,944 victims of North Carolina's sterilization program may be living as of 2010.

Other states had eugenics programs in the past, which focused on criminals and mentally ill people.  North Carolina's was much worse in that (1) it went on for decades after all the other states stopped doing it and (2) it extended to healthy women and children who were often poor and uneducated. Mothers were pushed or tricked into signing release forms for their young daughters to undergo the sterilization operation under threat of losing state-provided aid or custody.

Yes, it disproportionately disfavored African-American women.

And now, a five-member task force designed to compensate victims of the eugenics program have come out with their recommendation: $50,000 per victim.

That amount adds insult to injury in my view.