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Eugenics and Sterilization in North Carolina


Eugenics and Sterilization in North Carolina For half of the 20th century, North Carolina engaged in state-sanctioned eugenics. From the 20s to the 70s, 7,600 men, women and children - some as young as ten - were sterilized. Those deemed feeble-minded or promiscuous were targeted as were single women on welfare. Many states participated in such programs but North Carolina had the most aggressive. When many states backed off of sterilizations after World War II, North Carolina actually increased theirs - 70 percent of sterilizations were performed after the war. Now a state commission is recommending compensation for the victims. We look at this dark chapter in our history and at recommendations for justice. Victims needing assistance can reach the Sterilization Victims Foundation through: toll-free hotline number 1-877-550-6013 and website sterilizationvictims.nc.gov Guests Charmaine Fuller Cooper - Executive Director of NC Justice for Sterilization Victims Foundation; a Division of the NC Department of Administration Paul Lombardo - Professor of Law at Georgia State University and Author of A Century of Eugenics in America Julie Rose - Reporter at WFAE. She has covered the sterilization story extensively for WFAE and NPR. LeLa Dunston - A sterilization victim. She was sterilized at the age of 13 after giving birth to her only son. The reason she and her mother were given was that she was 'mentally disturbed.' Credit: American Philosophical Society. The American Eugenics Society promoted ideas of racial betterment and genetic education through public lectures, conferences, publications and exhibits at county and state fairs - like this chart labeled "The Triangle of Life" from the Kansas Free Fair. See more photos from the early Eugenics movement. Add and read comments