Sunday, March 28, 2010

State Eugenics Programs

Not a happy story, but I didn't know about this at all and thought I should share the article (from a North Carolina news weekly) for a piece of recent history probably little discussed:

http://www.indyweek.com/indyweek/nc-eugenics-survivors-seek-justice/Content?oid=1330583

"By the program's end in 1974, North Carolina ranked third among the states for number of eugenic sterilizations performed—at least 7,600 over 45 years. It was also the only state in which social workers were empowered to start the sterilization petitioning process. The Eugenics Board of North Carolina—comprised of five bureaucrats who met monthly in Raleigh—approved 90 percent of the sterilization petitions, often deciding cases within 15 minutes and without interviewing the individual to be sterilized. More than 70 percent of the victims were sterilized for "feeblemindedness," a vague term open to the board's interpretation—from supposedly possessing a low IQ to being "promiscuous," "rebellious" or even "untidy."

"According to the petition filed with the board for Elaine in 1967, she needed to be sterilized because of her "inability to control herself and her promiscuity." The petition adds that there are "community reports of her 'running around' and out late at night unchaperoned." It concludes that Elaine can "never function in any way as a parent." Her diagnosis: "feebleminded."

"...That's right. The sterilization law remained on the books until 2003, although the Eugenics Board was disbanded in 1974. After the law was finally removed, thanks mainly to Womble's efforts, the state developed a traveling museum exhibit describing the program. A historical roadside marker recognizes the program's victims. It was unveiled in downtown Raleigh last year. And, most recently, Charmaine Fuller Cooper of Durham was appointed executive director of the new N.C. Justice for Victims of Sterilization Foundation, which will examine options for restitution for the survivors and collaborate with other state agencies in carrying them out (see sidebar story).

After seven years of promises, though, the sterilization victims have yet to see any tangible benefits, and some of them are starting to lose hope they ever will."

2 comments:

Stephen said...

"Eugenics Board of North Carolina." Wow.

Darren said...

For a stunning documentary on Eugenics watch - Maafa21 http://www.maafa21.com