An excerpt from a 1950 pamphlet disseminated by the Human Betterment League of North Carolina, a private group that promoted the sterilization of the state’s “mental defectives.” George H. Lawrence, superintendent of public welfare for Buncombe County, was the group’s founding president. 
A North Carolina task force is currently collecting testimonies from victims of the state’s defunct eugenics program. Once the task force has compiled its evidence, it will make a recommendation to Governor Beverly Purdue regarding compensation to the victims.
North Carolina’s eugenics program began in the early 1900s, as part of a nationwide movement to improvement the gene pools of populations. The sterilization programs fell out of favor during World War II, when the public began to associate them with Nazi Germany’s genocidal “racial purity” practices.
But while most states abandoned their sterilization programs, North Carolina’s actually expanded after the war. From 1929 until 1973, over 7,600 people*, some as young as 10, were sterilized under the program. Among the targets were the poor, juvenile delinquents, the deaf, gay men, and victims of rape or incest. Most of the victims were women and a disproportionate number of them were black.
Since North Carolina’s eugenics program did not end until the 1970s, there are a number of victims still living. While many of them have refused to share their experiences out of shame, there are those who have come forward with their painful testimonies. “I am not feeble-minded. I have never been feeble-minded,” one woman told the task force this morning. ”They cut me open like a hog.”
*California led the nation in the number of sterilizations, with a recorded 20,108 forced surgeries by 1964. In all, 60,000 Americans were the victims of eugenics programs.

An excerpt from a 1950 pamphlet disseminated by the Human Betterment League of North Carolina, a private group that promoted the sterilization of the state’s “mental defectives.” George H. Lawrence, superintendent of public welfare for Buncombe County, was the group’s founding president. 

A North Carolina task force is currently collecting testimonies from victims of the state’s defunct eugenics program. Once the task force has compiled its evidence, it will make a recommendation to Governor Beverly Purdue regarding compensation to the victims.

North Carolina’s eugenics program began in the early 1900s, as part of a nationwide movement to improvement the gene pools of populations. The sterilization programs fell out of favor during World War II, when the public began to associate them with Nazi Germany’s genocidal “racial purity” practices.

But while most states abandoned their sterilization programs, North Carolina’s actually expanded after the war. From 1929 until 1973, over 7,600 people*, some as young as 10, were sterilized under the program. Among the targets were the poor, juvenile delinquents, the deaf, gay men, and victims of rape or incest. Most of the victims were women and a disproportionate number of them were black.

Since North Carolina’s eugenics program did not end until the 1970s, there are a number of victims still living. While many of them have refused to share their experiences out of shame, there are those who have come forward with their painful testimonies. “I am not feeble-minded. I have never been feeble-minded,” one woman told the task force this morning. ”They cut me open like a hog.”

*California led the nation in the number of sterilizations, with a recorded 20,108 forced surgeries by 1964. In all, 60,000 Americans were the victims of eugenics programs.