Logo courtesy of the North Carolina Justice for Sterlization Victims Foundation.

Editor’s note: According to the North Carolina Justice for Sterilization Victims Foundation, “From 1929 until 1974, an estimated 7,600 North Carolinians, women and men, many of whom were poor, undereducated, institutionalized, sick or disabled, were sterilized by choice, force or coercion under the authorization of the North Carolina Eugenics Board program.”

From the North Carolina Department of Administration, shared May 19:

Logo courtesy of the North Carolina Justice for Sterilization Victims Foundation.

RALEIGH – The Governor’s Task Force to Determine the Method of Compensation for Victims of North Carolina’s Eugenics Board has scheduled meetings for May 25 and June 22 at the Governor’s Crime Commission, 1201 Front St., Suite 200, Raleigh. Both meetings will begin at 10 a.m.

At (the May 25) meeting, the Office of Minority Health and Health Disparities will present about the state’s previous eugenics reform efforts and recommendations. Representatives from the Department of Cultural Resources will then present about the now-abolished N.C. Eugenics Board’s patient files and program records and provide information about current archive policies.

At the June meeting, victims of North Carolina’s state mandated eugenics program are invited to publicly share their recommendations on how to best provide justice to them. Interested speakers may sign up to be on the agenda by contacting the N.C. Justice for Sterilization Victims Foundation by calling its toll-free hotline at (877) 550-6013.

Created by Executive Order No. 83, the Task Force will recommend possible methods or forms of compensation to persons forcibly sterilized by the state’s eugenics program and will evaluate the recommendations of previous commissions. The Task Force is required to issue a preliminary report to the Governor by Aug. 1 and a final report by Feb. 1, 2012.

The five-member Task Force is staffed by the Sterilization Victims Foundation, which is continuing to receive verification inquiries from people who feel that they were reproductively sterilized by the state’s former Eugenics Board program that was abolished by the legislature in 1977.

If you believe you are or know someone who may have been affected by the program and would like to verify your status and access your patient files, call the toll-free hotline (877) 550-6013 for information, or visit the Foundation’s website: www.sterilizationvictims.nc.gov to download a verification request form. Foundation staff is available to assist callers from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday.

While numerous eugenics programs operated throughout both North Carolina and the United States during much of the 1900s, the estimated 7,600 individuals impacted by North Carolina’s sterilization and eugenics laws were born in or before 1961. More than 80 percent of the victims were female and victims were as young as 10 years old. Victims were from all racial backgrounds and were typically from poorer families.

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Kathleen O'Nan is a contributing reporter to Carolina Public Press.

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