Sign a petition to tell Perdue and the General Assembly to compensate victims of eugenics program

I was horrified earlier this month to learn the details about the eugenics program this state operated for 45 years. From 1929 to 1974, the state Eugenics Board had the power to order anyone sterilized whom it deemed an unfit parent.

Easley apologized to the victims back in 2002, and Perdue has appointed a task force to determine whether and how the victims will be compensated. The General Assembly will make the final decision. But there shouldn't even be a debate. Help me tell Perdue and the state legislature that the victims must be compensated. Sign this petition.

More background info after the jump.

Over the course of the program, 7,600 people were sterilized. Incredibly, this kept up well after World War II discredited the whole idea of eugenics. In fact, so many people were sterilized from the 1940s through the 1960s that 39 percent of the victims--2,900 people--are still alive.

As horrible as this was by itself, the methods used by the state's Eugenics Board would be outrageous by any standard. The victims were often told they were going for appendectomies, only to find out years later they'd been sterilized. Many of the victims (or their guardians) were told they'd lose their benefits unless they signed on the dotted line. In nearly all cases, the victims didn't have nearly enough education or background to make this sort of decision.

This is a black mark not just on North Carolina, but on the nation. Even if you don't live in North Carolina, please help send a message to the state's leaders--an apology simply isn't enough.

Sign here.


eugenics by the numbers

See the Institute for Southerns Studies index for a by the numbers look at eugenics programs in the South.

Here is a sample:

Year in which North Carolina first adopted a compulsory sterilization law, though it was not implemented: 1919

Year in which North Carolina adopted a compulsory sterilization law that was implemented: 1929

Year in which the N.C. Supreme Court ruled that the state's sterilization law was unconstitutional, leading the General Assembly to adopted a new one modeled on Virginia's Supreme Court-approved version: 1933

Year in which Germany's Nazi government passed its own eugenics law, which it promoted with a poster that showed the flags of the U.S. and other countries with such laws over the caption, "We do not stand alone": 1933

Follow the link for the citations and more on these numbers: