Shameful chapter cries out for justice

Blue Ridge
August 15, 2011

RELATED: Eugenics victim, son fighting together for justice

North Carolina must pay damages to the surviving victims of the N.C. Eugenics Board, which sterilized more than 7,600 individuals between 1929 and 1974 in the name of “improving” the state’s gene pool.

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This shameful chapter in our nation’s and state’s history, detailed in a lengthy Associated Press article in today’s paper, will only be closed when the victims have received justice beyond the apologies offered so far.

We are not talking reparations for slavery or some long-ago atrocity (although we would argue that some repercussions of slavery are still felt today). The N.C. Eugenics Board was disbanded a mere 34 years ago. The pain, shame and anger left by its work continues to this day for its victims — people like Elaine Riddick, 57, whose story of forced sterilization after she was raped at age 13 is well documented in the AP’s in-depth coverage.

By the early 20th century, most U.S. states had eugenics programs, and more than 30 enacted laws mandating surgical sterilization for certain individuals. As many as 100,000 people were sterilized in the country before the practice was discredited.

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Elaine Riddick (at 41m 22s) in Maafa 21: Black Genocide in the 21st Century (Full Movie)

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