Department of Administration
More than 100 Eugenics Victims in 48 Counties Verified by State
RALEIGH – The N.C. Justice for Sterilization Victims Foundation today announced an increase in the number of verified victims sterilized by the state’s former Eugenics Board program. More than 100 people have been matched to state program records and the Foundation is encouraging more people to come forward.
As of today, 111 individuals whose procedures were conducted in 48 counties have been matched to the state’s Eugenics Board program records. Lenoir County, where the Caswell Center is located, has the highest number of matches with 18. Mecklenburg, which had the highest number of procedures of any North Carolina county, follows with 10 verifications, then Wake with nine. However, three of the counties ranked in the Top 10 for number of procedures have no matches to date.
“I am putting together the compensation plan for inclusion in my budget and I encourage anyone who believes they are a victim to contact the Justice for Sterilization Victims Foundation,” said Gov. Bev Perdue. “They are working hard to identify individuals who were affected, and the steady increase in matches with archived records is an important step in this process.”
The Foundation continues to receive a steady flow of incoming verification requests and has received more than 1,300 phone inquiries since January, said Foundation Executive Director Charmaine Fuller Cooper. As public support for North Carolina’s sterilization victims continues to increase, the number of verified victims is expected to rise.
“North Carolina operated the most aggressive eugenics program in the nation, sterilizing the majority of its program victims after World War II and the Holocaust. Anyone could have been subjected to a sterilization order and the chances for sterilization were great for those in poverty,” Fuller Cooper said. “Victims have courageously stepped forward to tell their stories and their courage has inspired more people to contact the Foundation.”
In January, Gov. Bev Perdue’s Eugenics Compensation Task Force recommended a tax free lump sum payment of $50,000 to living victims and those who were alive when initially verified by the Foundation. The Task Force also recommended providing mental health services to victims, creation and expansion of permanent and traveling eugenics exhibits, and continuation of the Sterilization Victims Foundation. The Governor’s recommendations are expected to be included in the budget she submits to lawmakers.
State lawmakers are responsible for the final determination of the type and source of any compensation provided. The matter, which has generated bipartisan support, may be among the bills considered during the short legislative session this coming May.
The N.C. Eugenics Board implemented a program of involuntary sterilization that took place in all 100 counties between 1929 and 1974. By the end of the program, nearly 7,600 documented people were sterilized. See following page for a county breakdown of verified victims based on the county of residence listed on sterilization petitions. This breakdown is compared to sterilizations performed per county during the peak program years of 1946 through 1968.
The Sterilization Victims Foundation is continuing to receive verification inquiries from people who feel that they were impacted by the state’s former Eugenics Board program. If you believe you are or know someone who may have been affected by the program, call the toll-free hotline 877-550-6013 (or 919-807-4270) for information, or visit the Foundation's website: www.sterilizationvictims.nc.gov.
NOTE: To review the Eugenics Compensation Task Force Final Report, visit http://www.sterilizationvictims.nc.gov/documents/FinalReport-GovernorsEugenicsCompensationTaskForce.pdf.