Eugenics bill is back on the table
Full Story Here
Janell Ross, Staff Writer
RALEIGH - In 1968, Rep. John Conyers introduced a bill calling for recognition of Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday with a federal holiday. Fifteen years later, it became law.
Now, a North Carolina legislator thinks he might be facing the same sort of long-term fight -- this time to compensate the victims of North Carolina's eugenic sterilization program.
"I'm going to be just like [U.S. Rep.] John Conyers," Rep. Larry Womble said Friday. "He kept filing that bill, year after year. And as you and everybody else ought to know, eventually it passed."
Womble reintroduced a bill May 18 calling for the state to compensate people sterilized under a state program that aimed to cleanse the gene pool of disabilities and certain diseases. The idea, once widely accepted, was known as eugenics. North Carolina maintained an active program from about 1929 to 1974, long after other states had slowed or shut down their programs.
North Carolina's program led to the sterilization of at least 7,600 people. According to Womble's bill, 99 percent of those sterilized were women and 60 percent were black. State Eugenics Board records indicate that more than 80 percent of those sterilized were women and most who were sterilized were recipients of some form of public assistance, according to a researcher who has analyzed the records. . . .