Lip service paid in full to eugenics survivors
Scott Sexton - September 25, 2011
When first proposed, they seemed like such simple and relatively inexpensive things to do for the survivors of North Carolina’s heinous eugenic-sterilization program.
Build a traveling exhibit detailing its history. Erect a monument to the survivors. Incorporate it into the teaching of state history in public school curriculum. And put up a highway marker in a prominent place.
The state of North Carolina actively pushed sterilization on some 7,600 of its poorest and weakest residents. Local boards slipped into God’s shoes, making recommendations on who was fit to reproduce and who wasn’t.
As the years passed — North Carolina carried on with its eugenics into the 1970s, long after most states recoiled in horror from theirs — the program increasingly targeted poor black women and girls, hundreds of whom are still living.
How hard could it be to do a few small things to honor survivors? Judging by recent events, the answer, sadly, is too hard.