From the press release:
RALEIGH – While data from early years of the N.C. Eugenics Board’s sterilization program reflect inconsistent recordkeeping, reports from the program’s most active years clearly identify counties where the highest number of procedures were performed. By a wide margin, Mecklenburg County had the most reported procedures.
Documented sterilizations authorized by and performed under the auspices of the state’s most direct sterilization laws began in 1929. Four years later, the State Legislature created the N.C. Eugenics Board, which authorized nearly 7,600 sterilizations before the Board’s abolition in 1977. The post-World War II years through the 1960s account for about 70 percent of total sterilizations, according to Charmaine Fuller Cooper, Executive Director of the N.C. Justice for Sterilization Victims Foundation.
“Individuals from rural communities are over-represented in rankings,” said Fuller Cooper, noting that Charlotte had not yet achieved big-city status during this period. “While sterilization often is perceived as a minority issue, data also shows that white females were more likely to be sterilized than any other group.” Females accounted for 85 percent of the state’s sterilizations that included victims as young as 10 years of age.
The Top 10 counties that led the state in the highest number of authorized sterilizations during this period (1946-1968) include: (1) Mecklenburg, (2) Guilford, (3) Gaston, (4) Pitt, (5) Buncombe, (6) Forsyth, (7) Rowan, (8) Scotland, (9) Wake, and (10) Hertford.
Mecklenburg County sterilized three times more people than the second-ranked Guilford, Fuller Cooper said. The Top 10 counties accounted for more than 30 percent of the sterilizations performed in North Carolina; the Top 25 counties accounted for more than 50 percent of the sterilizations performed in the state.
The Sterilization Victims Foundation staffs the Governor’s Eugenics Task Force, which will conduct a public Listening Session at 10 a.m. June 22 at the Eaddy Agronomics Building, 4300 Reedy Creek Road, Raleigh. The purpose of the event is to give victims an opportunity to share their experience and state what they believe would be appropriate compensation.
Verified victims will receive priority seating. Pre-registration for speakers is encouraged due to time constraints but is not required. For information or to register, call the Sterilization Victims Foundation’s toll-free hotline at 1-877-550-6013 or 919-807-4270.
The Sterilization Victims Foundation has created a voluntary, online questionnaire to collect information and recommendations from those who believe they were sterilized under the N.C. Eugenics Board. The form is accessible on the Foundation website. Those without internet access may call the Foundation to have a printed copy mailed to them or to provide comment by phone.
Created by Executive Order No. 83, the Eugenics 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 Task Force is chaired by Dr. Laura Gerald, Executive Director of the State’s Health & Wellness Trust Fund.
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 Sterilization Victims Foundation’s toll-free hotline 1-877-550-6013 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.