The North Carolina Eugenics Board was created in 1933 and operated for decades with little public scrutiny. It used rudimentary IQ tests and gossip from neighbors to justify sterilization of young girls from poor families.
Many people don’t realize that portions of the U.S. South had eugenics programs that operated through the 1970s. NPR reports on some horrifying fairly-recent history:
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Barely 40 years ago, it wasn’t uncommon for a single mother on welfare, or a patient in a mental hospital in North Carolina, to be sterilized against her will.
But North Carolina wasn’t alone: More than half of states in the U.S. had eugenics laws, some of which persisted into the 1970s.
North Carolina is now considering compensating its sterilization victims. A state panel heard from some of them Wednesday. They were mostly poor and uneducated — both black and white — and often just girls when it happened.
Elaine Riddick says she was sterilized at the age of 14.